Signs and Symptoms of a Blood Clot

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The signs and symptoms of a blood clot include swelling, skin tenderness and warmth, and even chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness. 

Blood clot symptoms vary depending on the size and whether it's in a vein or an artery. The severity of blood clot symptoms also depends on what's causing them.

This article will go over the common signs and symptoms of a blood clot and what to do if you're experiencing them.

blood clot symptoms
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Common Blood Clot Symptoms

It is possible to have no symptoms with a blood clot—for example, if you have a clot in your kidney. However, blood clots in major veins or arteries will usually cause symptoms that are serious and require emergency medical care.

Blood clots can occur in different veins and arteries. The symptoms are specific to where the clot is located.

Symptoms of a blood clot related to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) include:

  • Warmth in the area where the clot is located
  • Swelling (for example, one leg is larger than the other)
  • Tenderness when you touch the area around the clot
  • Mild to moderate pain that increases over hours or days

Symptoms of a blood clot that may suggest a heart attack may involve:

  • Chest pain or discomfort: Most heart attacks cause discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. The discomfort usually lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. It also can feel like heartburn or indigestion.
  • Upper body discomfort: You may feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or the upper part of your stomach.
  • Shortness of breath: This can be your only symptom or it may come on before or along with chest pain or discomfort. It can also come on when you are resting or doing a little physical activity.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Feeling unusually tired for no reason—sometimes for days (especially in females)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

Symptoms of a blood clot that may suggest a stroke include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body
  • Sudden loss, blurring, or dimming of vision
  • Slurred speech or inability to speak
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Dizziness, drowsiness, falling, or lack of coordination
  • Nausea or vomiting (especially if accompanied by any of the above symptoms)

Blood Clot Complications

Blood clots can, but do not always, cause complications. However, know that you may not have any of the common symptoms of a clot before these complications happen.

  • Pulmonary embolism (PE): Sometimes a clot in the lower limbs or pelvis due to DVT breaks loose and travels to the lungs and blocks the flow of blood. The symptoms can include sudden, severe shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest pain, profuse sweating, loss of consciousness, bluish color to the lips and fingertips, and a cough that may produce bloody sputum (mucus).
  • Pulmonary hypertensionIt is possible to have several blood clots that block smaller pulmonary arteries but do not cause symptoms. This can lead to high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries, which, in turn, puts extra stress on the heart, potentially resulting in heart failure. 

Risk Factors

Some health conditions, including diabetes and atherosclerosis, increase your risk of developing a blood clot. Lifestyle factors like being a smoker also raise your risk of a blood clot.

It's also important to know the signs and symptoms of a blood clot if you take birth control pills, are pregnant or postpartum, take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or have recently had surgery.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

A blood clot and its complications can be life-threatening. If you have signs or symptoms of a blood clot and feel like you could be having a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Blood Clots Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Doctor Discussion Guide Old Man


The signs and symptoms of a blood clot depend on where it is, how big it is, and what is causing it. If you think you could have a blood clot, don't wait to get medical care. The sooner it is diagnosed and treated, the lower your risk of possibly life-threatening complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does a blood clot feel like?

    A blood clot can feel different depending on where in the body it's located. Common blood clot symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath or swelling, warmth, and pain or sensitivity in one part of your body, such as your leg.

  • Will a blood clot go away on its own?

    The body naturally forms blood clots when you get a cut or other minor injury. These clots dissolve when they’re no longer needed.

    However, blood clots caused by more serious, life-threatening conditions—such as deep vein thrombosis, stroke, or heart attack—may need medical treatment to dissolve.

  • Does COVID-19 cause blood clots?

    Blood clotting abnormalities are a relatively common complication of COVID-19. These blood clots can result from bed rest during hospitalization, inflammation related to the infection, or a rise in the levels of coagulating (blood-clot-forming) proteins in the blood.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Blood Clot Alliance. Signs and symptoms of blood clots.

  2. Texas Heart Institute. Heart attack warning signs.

  3. American Stroke Association. Stroke symptoms.

  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Pulmonary embolism.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pulmonary hypertension.

  6. American Society of Hematology. Blood Clots.

Additional Reading

By Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FN
Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FNP-C, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. She has experience in primary care and hospital medicine.