Grammy Award-winning singer Tori Kelly was hospitalized with blood clots over the weekend, ABC confirmed Tuesday. The singer was taken to the hospital Sunday night after collapsing while out with friends and is being treated at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. She has reportedly been diagnosed with clots in her legs, also known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, and clots in the veins of her lungs called pulmonary emboli, or PE, according to TMZ, which was the first to report the news.
Now, doctors are raising awareness of this life-threatening condition, saying even young people need to be aware of the signs and symptoms. “It absolutely can happen in young people,” said ABC chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. “This is personal for me, my daughter had one two years ago,” she added. “It’s a medical emergency.”
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Symptoms and Severity
The symptoms of blood clots depend on their location. When a blood clot affects the deep veins of the arms or legs it can cause pain, swelling, and redness. Clots that affect the veins of the lungs can be more concerning, as they can cause shortness of breath, a fast heart rate and passing out.
“In terms of the signs and symptoms, if you are talking about the leg, it’s usually some focal tenderness or redness or swelling in the back of the leg, the calf,” Ashton said. “If you’re talking about a clot in the lung, it’s shortness of breath, cough, chest pain that’s worse [with] breathing.”
Depending on the severity of the clots in the lungs, ICU-level care may be required.
Prevention and Risk Factors
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 900,000 people a year are affected by blood clots in the U.S. alone. According to the CDC, approximately 25% of people with clots in their lungs experience sudden death.
These clots can happen to anyone, but they typically occur in people who have cancer, clotting disorders, had recent surgery, are immobile, take birth control or use testosterone supplementation.
Doctors say the best way to prevent a blood clot from forming is by moving around as much as possible. Exercising for the recommended weekly 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening training will help. Avoid sitting for more than four hours, especially on long trips. Get up and move around at least every hour whenever you travel on a plane, train or bus. Do heel-toe exercises or circle your feet if you cannot move around.
Make sure to drink a lot of water and wear loose-fitted clothing when you travel. Speak to your doctor if you start hormone replacement medications such as birth control, estrogen or testosterone supplementation.
If you are at a higher risk for a DVT — including people who have recently had surgery or have a clotting disorder — doctors recommend using compression stockings or medications that prevent blood from clotting, called anticoagulants. If you develop a DVT or PE, you will be treated with medicines that help your blood stop clotting. These medications work very quickly. If the drugs do not work, severe cases may involve surgery.
Blood clots are a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can affect anyone. Understanding the signs and symptoms, as well as the risk factors, is crucial in preventing and managing this condition. Moving around frequently, staying hydrated, and speaking to a doctor about any potential risk factors are important steps in reducing the risk of blood clots.
Facts about Blood Clots
- Blood clots cause more deaths per year than AIDS, car crashes, and breast cancer combined.
- Approximately 900,000 people in the U.S. are affected by blood clots annually.
- 25% of people with blood clots in their lungs experience sudden death.
- Common symptoms of blood clots include pain, swelling, redness in the arms or legs, and shortness of breath, cough, and chest pain if the clot affects the lungs.
- Risk factors for blood clots include cancer, clotting disorders, recent surgery, immobility, the use of birth control or testosterone supplementation.
- Moving around frequently, exercising regularly, and using compression stockings or anticoagulant medications can help prevent blood clots.