Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently been diagnosed with a blood clot in her head after a fall. (Image Link: CNN)
“Secretary Clinton’s doctors released a statement…, and it said that she had a clot in the vein that is situated in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear. Now, the technical name for this is a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis. And what it means is there’s a clot in the vein that drains blood from the head. And this is likely a result of this fall that she had where she bumped her head and had a concussion, and possibly there was a small bleed at that time, which led to this clot.”
This does speak to one of the dangers that I was referring to in a previous post about falls and how to improve balance.
Her fall seems to have been more a result of having the flu as opposed to a lack of balance. That is why I wish to discuss the need to be vigilant after a fall.
Subdural hematomas can be sneaky. A subdural hematoma is a collection of blood on the surface of the brain. An acute hematoma presents very quickly after an injury. The symptoms appear quickly and they can be deadly. Chronic subdural hematomas are the sneaky ones. These generally involve a slow bleed from veins between the brain and the skull. As we age, our brain shrinks and stretches out these veins. The shrinking also leaves more room for the brain to move around during a fall or car accident or any trauma. So, the older someone is (especially over 60), the more vigilant they need to be about these slow bleeds.
You fall. You get up. You make sure no one saw the graceful move. You feel a little bruised but fine. What now?
Be on the look out for some of these symptoms over the next few weeks:
- Vision changes
- Memory changes
- Mood or personality changes
- Lethargy or Fatigue
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Speech changes
- Asymmetric (different from one side to the other) pupil size
- Anything else that changes and causes concern is enough to see your doctor for
Secretary Clinton had a venous blood clot. These can block the flow of blood out of any area, back to the heart. This can cause a build up of blood in the area. Most people are warned about these occurring in the legs or arms after surgeries or prolonged periods of inactivity. The symptoms include: pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in the local area.
“Arterial clots do not allow blood get to the affected area. Body tissue that is deprived of blood and oxygen begins to die and becomes ischemic.” The area may look pale and will very likely be painful. Blood clots can effect limbs and organs – think heart attack, stroke, and ischemic bowel.
Other sites that have information:
UCLA Health– Chronic Subdural Hematoma
Pub Med– What are blood clots and the use of clot busting medicine
Medicine Net– blood clot symptoms
Time Health and Family Blog– Concussions and Blood Clots