A blood clot in your leg could dislodge and travel to the lung, where it could block blood flow and become a serious health emergency.
We’ve all had a leg cramp here and there, when we don’t drink enough water, exercise too much at the gym, or go for a run after a long hiatus. But there is a type of leg pain that may feel like a cramp but could actually indicate a very serious health problem.
Deep vein thrombosis
DVT is a serious condition when a blood clot forms in a deep vein in your body, usually in the thigh or lower leg. Doctors have observed that patients with COVID-19 develop deep vein thrombosis.
Warning signs of venous thrombosis
A classic symptom of venous thrombosis is pain in the leg. It may start in the calf and may feel like a cramp or general discomfort. The pain can then isolate itself in a single point and become more acute. There may also be swelling of the affected limb, as well as redness or a warm sensation.
In general, sufferers describe the pain as a “throbbing” pain with a “focal point”. It can be felt, for example, by crouching down to grasp an object. Then we start to feel pain in the leg that does not pass.
Those times when DVT has no symptoms.
These blood clots can dissolve and go away on their own. But they can lead to life-threatening complications.
Possible complication: Pulmonary embolism
A PE occurs when the blood clot breaks away from the limb area, travels through the body and gets stuck in the lung, blocking blood flow through the arteries. This is an emergency, and you need to seek treatment immediately. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain when breathing or coughing, rapid breathing, rapid pulse, feeling faint, and coughing up blood.
You can help prevent DVT and blood clots by staying active and avoiding sitting for long periods of time, such as while working at your desk or on a long plane trip. Do not cross your legs when seated in these situations. Try to get up and walk every hour or so.
It is also beneficial to exercise regularly, manage your weight and avoid smoking.