What is it?
A pulmonary embolism is a blocked blood vessel due to a blood clot in your lungs. Most times, a pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots that travel from the legs, or rarely, other parts of the body (deep vein thrombosis or DVT). It can damage part of the lung due to restricted blood flow, decrease oxygen levels in the blood, and affect other organs as well. Large or multiple blood clots can be fatal.It can be life-threatening if not treated quickly. It results in the death of one-third of people who go undiagnosed or untreated.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism depend on the size of the clot and where it lodges in the lung. The most common symptom of a pulmonary embolism is shortness of breath. This may be gradual or sudden. Other symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include: * cough * anxiety * clammy or bluish skin * chest pain that may extend into your arm, jaw, neck, and shoulder * fainting * irregular heartbeat * lightheadedness * rapid breathing * rapid heartbeat * restlessness * spitting up blood * weak pulse
- sit comfortably in your seat and lie back as much as possible
- wear loose-fitting clothing
- make sure you have plenty of legroom
- drink water regularly
- take regular breaks from sitting
- bend and straighten legs, feet and toes every 30 minutes while seated
- press the balls of your feet down hard against the floor every so often
- wear flight socks
- a sedentary lifestyle
- sit for long periods without moving
- drink alcohol
- drink too much coffee and other caffeine-based drinks
- take sleeping pills
Things to watch out for
Contact your GP if you think you have only mild symptoms of pulmonary embolism. In case of severe symptoms like chest pain or difficulty breathing call 000 or your nearest emergency service