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Trying to spot the blood clot

December 23, 2018

Twenty-four-year-old Spanish skateboarding star Danny Leon got made up to look like a not-so-steady-on-his-feet 80-year-old man. His goal: To see if teens at a local skate park would teach him the sport. They obliged, but when Danny started speeding down the half pipe and doing aerial spins, well, the kids were blown away.

Being a force of nature disguised as a harmless old guy — that’s a pretty good metaphor for the way a blood clot can disguise itself as a simple bruise. Don’t you fall for it.

Bruises can be painful and turn shades of black and blue, but generally they’re not harmful. One caveat: Easy or spontaneous bruising can indicate underlying disease and a need to see your doc.

A blood clot, on the other hand, is a concentrated aggregation of blood. It forms from an external injury to blood vessels or internal injury to the lining of a blood vessel from plaque, or because of dysfunction in your blood’s flow-and-clot chemistry. Clots can obstruct blood flow or dislodge and travel through your bloodstream, triggering heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE). So

if you spot a clot, see your doc. Some tips:

• Near your skin’s surface, clots can appear bruise-like, but are generally redder and the underlying vein may be hard to the touch.

• A clot that’s moved and is causing trouble may trigger swelling and pain in an extremity (DVT); slurred speech and vision problems (stroke); chest pain or upper body discomfort, shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate (PE or heart attack).

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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