Pulmonary embolism is blockage in one or more arteries in your lungs. In most cases, pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots that travel to your lungs from another part of your body — most commonly, your legs. Pulmonary embolism is a complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is clotting in the veins farthest from the surface of the body.
Pulmonary embolism can occur in otherwise healthy people. Common signs and symptoms include sudden and unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain and a cough that may bring up blood-tinged sputum.
Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening, but immediate treatment with anti-clotting medications can greatly reduce the risk of death. Taking measures to prevent blood clots in your legs also can help protect you against pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary embolism symptoms can vary greatly, depending on how much of your lung is involved, the size of the clot and your overall health — especially the presence or absence of underlying lung disease or heart disease.
Common signs and symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath. This symptom typically appears suddenly, and occurs whether you’re active or at rest. – (This was my ONLY symptom!)
- Chest pain. You may feel like you’re having a heart attack. The pain may become worse when you breathe deeply, cough, eat, bend or stoop. The pain will get worse with exertion but won’t go away when you rest.
- Cough. The cough may produce bloody or blood-streaked sputum.
Other signs and symptoms that can occur with pulmonary embolism include:
- Leg swelling, usually in only one leg
- Clammy or bluish-colored skin
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Weak pulse
- Lightheadedness or fainting
To the right you can see where I posted about my PE and Factor V. There you can find the story on how I found out about my PE 🙂