Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a condition in which main artery of the lung or any of its branches is blocked by a clump of materials - most often a blood clot. Anyone can develop pulmonary embolism, but there are several factors which increase the risk.
Who can develop pulmonary embolism?
It’s rarely seen in children; but older people are more vulnerable to blood clots development because of following factors:
• Valve malfunction:
Heart valves ensure that blood always flows freely in right direction. With the age, heart valves lose their function and lead to pulmonary embolism.
Dehydration causes blood thickening, which may cause blood clots. Older people are at higher risk of dehydration, therefore chance of pulmonary embolism increases.
What does cause pulmonary embolism?
If you have family history of blood clots, then you are more susceptible to PE. Consult your interventional radiologist, so that appropriate tests can be done to check for an inherited clotting disorder.
Even lifestyle plays an important role in pulmonary embolism; certain factors include:
Tobacco with combination of other risk factors causes blood clot formation. However, actual reason behind this is yet to discover.
Increased fats and cholesterol can block artery. Therefore, obese people have high risk of pulmonary embolism.
• Hormonal imbalance:
Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy increase estrogen and clotting factors in blood, leading to pulmonary embolism - especially in overweight women.
In addition, certain medical conditions increase pulmonary embolism risk. People with following diseases are on higher risk of blood clotting.
• Cardio vascular disease:
Heart diseases and high blood pressure cause blood clots, and circulation problems can also lead to pulmonary embolism.
During the pregnancy, weight of baby presses the veins in pelvis, which slows blood returning from the legs. Reduced blood flow or pool may clot the blood.
: Cancer and its treatment sometimes increase chances of blood clotting. Certain cancers - pancreatic, breast cancer, ovarian and lung cancers - increase level of clotting substances in blood.
If you have any of above-mentioned conditions, then you are on higher risk of pulmonary embolism. Consult your interventional radiologist
to diagnose it by appropriate method.