There are a few reasons that medical TV shows use pulmonary embolisms for a dramatic effect. First, it is quick and has a high risk of death if not treated immediately. Secondly, there can be more than one, called pulmonary emboli. Lastly, there are dangers associated with pulmonary embolisms as well.
What is a pulmonary embolism? It is a blood clot that has gotten loose and made its’ way to the lungs, blocking an artery that supplies blood to the lungs. Blood flow slows down when a blood clot forms against the wall of a vein, and this poses a threat to make a pulmonary embolism. Medical treatment for a pulmonary embolism is priority number one.
Increased danger for a pulmonary embolism is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT); this is when a blood clot or multiple clots have formed in a deep vein. These blood clots have the potential to become loose and move to the lungs where a pulmonary embolism can occur. There is a one in three chance that people who have DVT end up suffering a pulmonary embolism and out of that, one in three will die from it.
What type of person is in high danger for the development of a pulmonary embolism? People who suffer from DVT have the biggest risks of having one. Also, people who have previously had DVT, former and current cancer patients, people who are genetically inclined to blood clots, people with a history of sitting for extended periods (air travel or bed rest), and even women on hormones (including birth control).
There are many different symptoms to watch out for before it happens since the onset is so fast. Since this is pulmonary related, most of the signs will be associated with the lungs and breathing, such as bloody mucus, shortness of breath, sudden coughing, pain in the chest or ribs when breathing, dizziness, fainting, sweating, and an increase in heart rate while breathing rapidly. Of course, these signs could be a symptom of other medical problems, but seeing a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible is the first step.
Implementation of emergency measures are quick so there can be a prevention of death. PE therapy (pulmonary embolism therapy) usually includes a drug that breaks up the clot or clots. Surgery can consist of a small tube inserted in a blood vessel in the thigh to the lung so a doctor can remove the embolism. If there is an admission for an emergency situation, these are the first steps.
What are other PE therapy measures so that someone does not have to seek emergency help for a pulmonary embolism? A healthy weight, exercising, no smoking, and using compression socks are the most effective and cheap ways to help prevent a pulmonary embolism. More severe steps for PE therapy can include: inpatient stays that consist of anticoagulation, thrombolysis, and other surgeries. Taking care of one’s self is the best measure since no one is immune to a pulmonary embolism.
The ultimate danger of a pulmonary embolism is an early death. Thankfully, there are many things people can do every day to prevent one. Furthermore, multiple medical advances can avert life-threatening situations of pulmonary embolism.