Recognizing Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms

November 12, 2012

Recognizing Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms

Unfortunately, pulmonary embolism symptoms are not set in stone. If a person experiences an embolism and does not seek treatment, severe breathing problems and even death can occur.

Just like the signs of a heart attack, it is necessary for people to recognize pulmonary embolism symptoms so that medical help can be sought as soon as possible. When a blood clot moves through the circulatory system of the body, it runs the risk of becoming lodged in any vein or artery which is too small or narrow for the clot to pass through. If it gets stuck in the lungs, the obvious effects will depend on the location of the clot as well as whether or not the area is completely blocked or only partially blocked. In severe cases, death can occur especially if the artery connecting the right side of the heart to the lungs is completely blocked off. In other cases, the blood will simply not be able to reach the capillaries in order to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. Many of the common pulmonary embolism symptoms come from this type of situation. It is very rare for the lung tissue itself to die because it still should have enough blood flowing to the actual tissue.

Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms

While pulmonary embolism symptoms may vary slightly from person to person, there are a few general symptoms which can point people in the right direction. The signs and symptoms below are in the general order of their appearance:

  • Chest pain- Pleuritic chest pain can often be confused with the pain associated with a heart attack. This is not surprising because a floating blood clot can lodge in the heart instead of the lung which would cause a heart attack. The major difference is that the pain will get worse as you breathe, especially with deep breaths. The pain will appear suddenly and will be stabbing and sharp in nature.

  • Problems breathing- A person may have a hard time catching their breath. The shortness of breath will be amplified during any type of physical exertion.

  • Sudden anxiety- A feeling of dread or apprehension may come over you. This can be the body’s natural response to trying to correct the problem or from other issues such as your mental reaction to breathing problems and pain.

  • Dry cough- Some people may have a constant need to cough. This cough is normally dry but damage can cause blood to appear.

  • Profuse sweating- The release of hormones in an attempt to correct the issue can result in overstimulation of the sweat glands.

  • Loss of consciousness- Lack of oxygenated blood or severe blockages can lead to a person passing out.

If you feel that you are suffering from any pulmonary embolism symptoms, make sure to call emergency services. Medical professionals will suspect the occurrence of an embolism in any person that has clotting risk factors or a recent problem with painful or swollen extremities.


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