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The Causes of Blood Clots


There are many causes of blood clots and they can form inside your small veins close to the surface of your skin. A good indication that a blood clot may have formed is redness, pain and swelling on your vein. It’s unlikely to cause complications and can be treated. If you happen to have larger, deeper veins than the clot can produce more wide-spreading symptoms usually in the leg area and those can turn into more serious complications.

Blood clots may form inside small veins near the surface of your skin (superficial phlebitis), resulting in localized redness, pain and swelling. Superficial phlebitis rarely causes complications and requires minimal treatment. Blood clots that form inside larger, deeper veins (deep vein thrombosis) may cause more-widespread symptoms in the affected area, usually your leg, and can cause more-serious problems.

Blood clots that don’t dissolve after their work is done can break away and cause damage in other areas of your body. If they travel to your lungs they can cause a life-threatening clot in the lungs called pulmonary embolism.

You can develop blood clots in the chambers of your heart if you have an irregular heart rhythm. This is called atrial fibrillation and it can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. If you happen to develop a blood clot in the arteries of your heart it can cause a heart attack.

If you develop a blood clot in your carotid arteries in your neck it can also travel to your brain and cause a stroke.

There are many factors that can cause a blood clot to form as well as conditions that can cause a clot to travel to another area in your body:

  1. Antiphospholipid Syndrome
  2. Arteriosclerosis
  3. Certain medications, such as oral contraceptives, hormone therapy drugs and some breast cancer medications
  4. Deep vein thrombosis
  5. Family history of blood clots
  6. Heart Arrhythmia
  7. Heart Attack
  8. Heart Failure
  9. Obesity
  10. Peripheral Artery Disease
  11. Polycythemia Vera
  12. Pregnancy
  13. Prolonged sitting or bed rest
  14. Pulmonary embolism
  15. Smoking
  16. Surgery

Seek emergency care if you experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain in the centre of your chest lasting more than a few minutes
  • Pain extending to your shoulder, arm, back or jaw