A vein is the small, muscular vein that runs through the middle of your arm. Your veins carry blood from your heart and lungs to your other organs, so damage to a vein can be serious.
A vein can also become blocked, which can cause swelling, pain, and other symptoms. When a vein becomes blocked, it takes longer for the blood to flow through it. You may find that a vein becomes blocked when you exercise or sit for a long time.
Blowout is a technical term for a blocked vein.
Blowout usually causes symptoms that are most noticeable on one side of your body. However, you may experience symptoms on both sides of your body.
Blowout can cause:
- Pain or discomfort in and around the affected area
- Feeling cold
- Tingling or numbness
Blowout can also cause blood to “pool” under your skin. This is called hematoma.
How is a vein blocked?
Blowout can occur when blood flows from a vein to a blood vessel, usually a larger artery. The vein can become blocked because it’s not getting enough blood. Other conditions can also block a vein.
Blocked veins can also be caused by:
- Trauma. If you’ve had an injury to your arm or have a bone fracture, you may notice bruising and pain in and around the affected area.
- Injury. If you’ve broken a bone, you may notice that a vein becomes blocked.
- Vein or artery that isn’t functioning properly. If a vein doesn’t carry blood properly, it can become blocked by a blood clot.
- Scar tissue or thrombus. If a vein becomes blocked by scar tissue or a blood clot, it can become obstructed.
- Varicose veins. Varicose veins can also cause a vein to become blocked, which causes blood to pool under your skin.
Blowout symptoms typically develop slowly. You may notice symptoms on one side of your body, but they may be on both sides of your body.
If you have symptoms that may be related to a blocked vein, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and determine if they may be related to a blocked vein.
If you have a blockage, your doctor may recommend a procedure to unclog the vein.
What causes a blowout?
Blowout is often caused by a condition called a superficial thrombophlebitis. This is a condition that causes a vein to become blocked, usually in a vein that’s sitting next to a larger artery.
Blowout can also be caused by a condition called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a blood clot that forms in a vein.
Blowout may also be caused by:
- Conditions that cause inflammation
- Heart disease
- Certain medications
The following conditions can also cause a blowout:
- Arterial disease. This is a condition where your blood vessels become clogged.
- Venous thromboembolism (VTE). This is a condition where a clot forms in a vein and breaks off and travels to your lungs.
- Varicose veins. Varicose veins may also cause a blowout.
Who is at risk for blowout?
Blowout is more likely to occur when you sit or stand for a long time. This can happen if your veins are blocked and not getting any blood flow. You may also be at risk if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have a medical condition
- Have a weakened immune system
How is a blowout treated?
Blowout can be treated with a procedure called thrombolysis. This is when a doctor injects a medicine through a vein to break up a blood clot. This can help restore blood flow to the affected area.
Other treatments include:
- Medication. If you have a blowout caused by a DVT, you may be prescribed blood thinners to prevent the clot from causing another clot.
- Injections. An injection can help remove the clot, which allows blood to flow normally again. In some cases, an ultrasound can help guide the needle to the vein.
- Surgery. A surgical procedure can help repair a vein that’s been damaged.
What is the long-term outlook?
Blowout can affect one side of your arm, but it can also affect your other arm. You may be at a greater risk for blowout if you’re pregnant.
A blowout can be a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. If you have symptoms of a blowout, make an appointment with your doctor. They can evaluate your symptoms and determine whether they may be related to a blowout.
Your doctor can also prescribe medication to help improve your symptoms.
Seeking treatment early can reduce the risk of complications.
How can you prevent blowout?
Follow these tips to reduce your risk for blowout:
- Don’t sit or stand for a long time. This may help prevent blowout.
- Don’t wear tight clothing.
- Don’t smoke.
- Don’t bruise your arm.
- Move your arm gently to help prevent blood pooling.
- Don’t overdo it when exercising.
- Avoid the sun.
- Wear compression stockings.
- Use a blood pressure monitor.
When should you call your doctor?
If you have symptoms of a blowout, make an appointment with your doctor. They can evaluate your symptoms and help determine if they may be caused by a blowout.
You should also see your doctor if you notice any:
- Blood pooling under your skin
- Pain, discomfort, or numbness in and around the affected area
- Swelling or a change in the color of your arm
Your doctor can recommend treatment for a blowout.
You may also want to talk to your doctor if you have a condition that can cause a blowout, such as:
- Pregnancy. You may be at a higher risk for blowout during pregnancy. This may be because your body is working hard to support your baby.
- Obesity. If you’re obese, your doctor may recommend treatments to prevent blowout.
- Varicose veins. These can also cause a blowout.
- Heart disease. You may be at risk for blowout if you have heart disease.
Blowout is a symptom of a medical condition that can negatively impact your arm.
However, it’s often treatable. Call your doctor if you notice symptoms of a blowout. They can help you determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend treatments.
If your doctor suspects a blowout, they can prescribe medication to break up a clot.
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