A blood clot in your leg could dislodge and travel to the lung, where it could block blood flow and become a serious health emergency.
We've all had a leg cramp here and there — when we don't drink enough water, over-exert ourselves at the gym, or go for a run after a long hiatus. But there's a type of leg pain that may feel like a cramp but could actually indicate a very serious health issue.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
DVT is a serious condition when a blood clot forms in a deep vein in your body — typically in the thigh or lower leg. Doctors have been observing COVID-19 patients developing deep vein thrombosis. "Jon & Kate Plus 8" star Jon Gosselin, who revealed his own COVID-19 diagnosis to Dr. Oz in January, gave an update that he experienced DVT while recovering at home.
A classic symptom of DVT is pain in the leg. It could start in your calf and may feel like a cramp or general soreness. The pain may later become more isolated to a single spot and may feel sharper. There could also be swelling in the affected limb, as well as redness or warmth.
Gosselin described his pain as a "stabbing" pain with a "focal point," saying, "I was squatting down and getting pots and pans and I felt really faint and my legs kept on hurting and hurting." He immediately called his doctor and asked to be seen.
However, there are times when DVT doesn't present any symptoms at all.
These blood clots may dissolve and go away on their own. But they could lead to life-threatening complications.
Possible Complication: Pulmonary Embolism
A PE occurs when the blood clot dislodges from the limb area, travels through the body and gets stuck in the lung, blocking blood flow in the arteries. This is an emergency, and you should get treatment immediately. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain when breathing or coughing, rapid breathing, rapid pulse, feeling faint and coughing up blood.
You can help prevent DVT and blood clots by staying active and avoiding sitting still for long periods of time, like during work at your desk or during a long plane ride. Don't cross your legs while you're sitting during these situations, and try to get up and walk around every hour or so. Exercise your lower legs when you do (heel raises and toe raises).
It is also beneficial to exercise regularly, manage your weight and avoid smoking.