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Pulmonary embolism: causes and symptoms

A pulmonary embolism can be fatal.
Photo: Fotolia
  1. You should know that
  2. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism
  3. Causes of pulmonary embolism: Especially thrombosis
  4. How does a thrombosis develop?

You should know that

Philipp Mißfelder was only 35 years old. The CDU politician died completely unexpectedly on the night of Monday on a pulmonary embolism. The death of the CDU member of parliament shocked above all because Mißfelder at first glance does not belong to the risk group. A few days ago, the father of two children was in London, made a healthy impression. So how did it come to his sudden death?

Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition. The cause of this is usually a thrombosis. The embolism manifests itself with different symptoms - in the worst case, it can lead to death if not treated in time.

Symptoms of pulmonary embolism

The medical profession distinguishes between a hidden clinical picture and an acute pulmonary embolism. A disease can go unnoticed, because small embolisms are not strong enough to cause symptoms. If, however, you experience symptoms such as rapid breathing with over 16 puffs per minute, acute respiratory distress, chest pain, fast heart rate or hemoptysis, you should immediately go to the nearest hospital. In the most severe stage of the disease, cardiovascular shock triggered by pulmonary embolism can lead to death.

Causes of pulmonary embolism: Especially thrombosis

In most cases, pulmonary embolism is triggered by a previous vein thrombosis, which often forms in the thighs but may also be in the pelvic area. However, thrombosis is less common in the calf or upper arm veins.

But other causes are possible, but their probabilities are less than five percent. Deposited fat particles that enter the veins as part of surgery can also be the cause of pulmonary embolism, as can amniotic fluid levels that enter the veins during a cesarean section. Air can also be a triggering factor if it enters the organism in the event of injuries to larger veins.

Hereditary diseases associated with increased coagulation readiness may also increase the risk of pulmonary embolism. These hereditary diseases are mainly due to various protein deficiencies: certain proteins inhibit the coagulation of the flowing blood in the vessels, so that clump together in their reduced occurrence, the blood cells.

How does a thrombosis develop?

Thrombosis is a blood clot that usually forms in the veins but can also develop in arteries. The beginning is made of platelets that gather together. As a result, within the framework of a coagulation cascade, a network is formed, in which more corpuscles become entangled. Thus, the blood vessel narrows or clogs.

Apart from coagulation disorders and changes in the flow velocity, damage to the vessel walls can also lead to thrombosis. Other risk factors include smoking, pregnancy, the birth control pill, cancer and obesity. Women are more likely to be affected by thrombosis than men.

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