BINGHAMTON (WBNG) – The recent shocking death of a Walton teenager has many people asking: What is a pulmonary embolism and how can you prevent it?
"650,000 patients died from the pulmonary embolism and we diagnosed approximately 90,000 of patients," said Dr. Ihsan Khan, from Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton.
Doctors say it is important to know what a pulmonary embolism is and how it can be avoided.
“Pulmonary embolism is actually the blockage of pulmonary artery and pulmonary artery originates from the right side of the heart," Dr. Khan said.
Doctors say the blockage, or clot, can stop your body from getting the oxygen it needs and can lead to heart failure.
"It's really sudden and onset most of the time. Especially when you have messy pulmonary embolism, so it doesn't give you much time," Dr. Khan said.
Doctors say family history is also a factor.
"In young patients who had some pulmonary embolism, we can suspect that a patient may have some inherited clotting disorders," Dr. Khan said.
Which is why doctors say to also know the symptoms.
"Some symptoms are shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness sometimes you have some fainting so those could be the signs of pulmonary embolism," Dr. Khan said.
Dr. Khan says obesity and smoking are common risk factors. He also adds that injuries to your lower abdominal muscles can also put you at risk.
"You should not ignore it because that could be actually blood vessel injury in that area could give you thrombosis and that thrombosis goes to your lungs," Dr. Khan said.
Dr. Khan says getting proper exercise, a steady diet and educating yourself of the symptoms are the keys to avoid clots.
He also says traveling for long periods of time can also put you at risk.
Dr. Khan suggests to give yourself breaks to walk around when on the road or on a plane and also make sure you are well hydrated.