Pulmonary Embolism is lung damage caused by arteries blocked by blood clots. However, do you know what causes blood clots in the lungs? What about the life expectancy of sufferers of this condition? Find the answer to Life After Pulmonary Embolism: Life Changes Recovery and Treatment.
Lung Embolism at a Glance
Pulmonary embolism is a type of common cardiovascular disease, in which the patient experiences a sudden blockage in the arteries that supply blood to the lungs.
The disease is caused mainly by a blood clot that rises from one of the veins in the leg. As a result, oxygen is prevented from reaching the tissues of the lungs and can be life-threatening to the patient.
How serious is Pulmonary Embolism, and what is the cause of its increased chances?
Pulmonary embolism is a very serious disease and causes complications in the human body. For example, sudden collapse due to blood clots, heart function is stopped indelible, resulting in sudden cardiac arrest or death.
The likelihood of developing pulmonary embolism increases for those who are inactive for long periods for various reasons such as serious limb injury, any type of surgery, and the potential for blood clotting.
Rest in a long bed can also cause damage to blood vessels. When the patient stretches the legs to move, it is possible that trauma to the legs can cause a pulmonary embolism. In addition, pulmonary embolism can also be caused for the following reasons:
- Especially for women who are overweight, active smokers, and have high blood pressure.
- During pregnancy, the pelvis can generally slow down the blood flow from the legs of pregnant women due to the weight of the baby in the womb. During this time, there is a high probability for pregnant women to get a blood clot.
- When women take birth control pills over a long period, the chances of getting a pulmonary embolism increase because birth control pills contain estrogen which increases the likelihood of blood clots.
How long is the Survival Rate of Pulmonary Embolism?
The chances of survival from pulmonary embolism can be detected from symptoms and timely treatment. However, it is difficult to detect pulmonary embolism if it is still in its early stages.
Some symptoms that must be taken seriously that characterize the onset of the disease are:
- Shortness of breath for no reason
- Certain chest pains
- Blood in cough
If a person experiences the symptoms mentioned above, then it is appropriate to immediately check with a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. If pulmonary embolism is not detected at an early stage and treatment does not begin early, then it is certain that the survival rate will be reduced.
Just by determining the presence of pulmonary embolism alone is not enough, it is very important to determine the seriousness of pulmonary embolism and start appropriate treatment procedures.
There are several treatment procedures available such as:
- Thrombolytic treatment
- Cardiovascular resuscitation
In most cases, the patient should undergo other treatments such as:
- Blood clot removal treatment
- Open heart surgery
- Catheter-based treatments
- Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)
If the condition is not too severe, of course, the patient does not need to undergo surgery. The doctor will suggest oral medications to thin the blood. In addition, the doctor may also ask the patient to use heparin or warfarin with the same function as oral.
The survival rate of pulmonary embolism can increase due to early detection and proper treatment. Also, know about How To Prevent Pulmonary Embolism.
How long does it take to recover from Pulmonary Embolism?
The exact amount of time it takes to recover from Pulmonary Embolism differs by individual. Many people can fully recover and return to their normal activity levels after a few weeks or months.
Some symptoms may subside when you receive treatment. However, it is not uncommon for shortness of breath or chest pain to continue for weeks, months, or even years.
How long does the pain last after a pulmonary embolism?
The pain and swelling usually begin to improve within a few days of treatment. Symptoms of pulmonary embolisms, such as shortness of breath, mild pain, and pressure in the chest, can persist for 6 weeks or more. You can feel it when active or even when you take a deep breath.
What are some important factors that can affect recovery?
The severity of Pulmonary Embolism
The severity of Pulmonary Embolism may affect treatment options. For example, a person with severe to life-threatening Pulmonary Embolism may require more intensive treatment with thrombolytic drugs or medical procedures. This could potentially extend your recovery time.
Your overall health
Your overall health is important in the process of treatment and recovery of any health condition. This holds true for Pulmonary Embolization.
Certain underlying health conditions can put you at increased risk of experiencing prolonged shortness of breath or difficulty with physical activity after Pulmonary Embolism. Some examples include:
- Thrombophilia, a condition that causes blood clotting
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Taking thyroid hormones for hypothyroidism
- Have previous procedures such as splenectomy, or the placement of a pacemaker
Risk of blood clots
Most recovery pulmonary embolism aims to prevent the formation of additional blood clots. Several risk factors can increase the risk of blood clots, such as:
- Previous history of blood clots
- Older age
- Certain health conditions, such as obesity, cancer, infection, heart failure, heart attack, stroke, major trauma (broken leg, hip, or spinal injury.
- Genetic conditions that increase the risk of blood clots, such as the V Leiden thrombophilia factor
- Hormone-based medication, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, can be taken
- Operating procedure
- Long-term immobilization, such as traveling long distances
In general, the more risk factors you have, the higher your risk for blood clots.
As you recover from Pulmonary Embolism, your doctor will assess the risk for future blood clots. Those at higher risk may need to take blood-thinning medications for an indefinite time.
Life changes for patients who have experienced a pulmonary embolism
- Nearly half of patients suffering from blood clots in the lungs will experience limited exercise within a year.
- Half of the patients with blood clots in their lungs had limited ability to exercise. Of course, this hurts your quality of life.
One female patient, aged 37 with ‘married’ marital status, after experiencing Pulmonary Embolism, received major functional complaints of fatigue and muscle weakness.
While the main psychological complaints can be anxiety, such as emotional ease, the fear of Pulmonary Embolism repeats itself, as well as the emergence of concerns about stopping anticoagulant treatment.
Not only that, but he also experiences social limitations, is afraid to be a burden to relatives and friends, and is afraid to be alone.