A leg cramp is annoying, but it can be due to several medical issues. Generally, stress, wrong shoes, minor injuries, keeping legs in a bad position for a long time, or dehydration can cause leg cramps. But if the leg cramp stays for a long time and gets worse it can be blood clots in the legs. It generally occurs in the blood vessels present in the legs.
Blood Clot vs Leg Cramp
The main difference between a blood clot and a leg cramp is that a blood clot is a clump of blood cells, fibrin, and platelets that form for preventing the flow of blood, and it helps to prevent bleeding after an injury but can be very dangerous if it occurs in a wrong place of the body. On the other hand, leg cramp refers to the pain in the muscles of the leg. It is not that dangerous like a blood clot.
A blood clot is a vital function of our body. It is a blood clump that changes from a liquid to a semisolid or gel-like state. Blood clots are a vital process that can stop blood flow whenever your skin has a cut. When a blood clot forms inside the veins, it doesn’t dissolve on its own. This can be a life-threatening health issue and needs to be treated properly.
A leg cramp is a pain in the muscles of the legs. It can be very excruciating. Leg cramps are very common in the calf muscles. It can also happen in feet or thighs. The muscles in the legs suddenly become very tight and it is very painful. After the cramp has stopped, a little tenderness and pain in the legs are felt for several hours.
Comparison Table Between Blood Clot and Leg Cramp
|Parameters of Comparison||Blood Clot||Leg Cramp|
|Symptoms||Symptoms of a blood clot are felt if they occur in the wrong place. Symptoms like headache, leg cramp, chest pain, and breathing problems are the main symptoms of a blood clot.||The symptom of a leg cram is always felt. Its symptoms include a hard lump, swelling, and pain in the leg muscle.|
|Cause||The causes of blood clots are antiphospholipid syndrome, heart issues, having V Leiden, having surgery, having birth control pills, or being pregnant.||The causes of leg cramps are over-exercise, spinal compression, DVT.|
|Diagnosis||To diagnose blood clots doctors may suggest doing MRI, CT scan, or angiogram.||Leg cramps can be easily diagnosed by a physical exam.|
|Treatment||Doctors may suggest surgery or thrombolytic therapy for treating blood clots.||It can be treated at home by applying cold or heat on legs, taking painkillers, doing stretches.|
|Risk factors||A blood clot is a more severe health issue compared to a leg cramp and it may indicate high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and having blood clotting disorder.||Leg cramps are not severe health issues like blood clots. It mostly happens in old ages, or due to dehydration.|
What is Blood Clot?
Blood clotting is a very important function of our body. Whenever we have a cut in our skin, blood in our body is required to form a solid lump-like scab, for preventing blood loss. When the blood vessels or skin breaks, chemicals present in our body indicate platelets for taking action. Platelets stick with each other around the affected area and become solid to seal the gap to stop blood loss.
But it is not the only way in which blood clots form in our body. Sometimes due to poor blood flow causes slowing down of blood flow or accumulation of it in areas like vein, artery and in that situation platelets start to knit together. This resulted in a blood clot which is called thrombosis. This type of blood clot can be very dangerous to our body.
A blood clot in the legs, which is known as DVT or deep vein thrombosis, becomes life-threatening if it moves or part of the blood clots moves through the blood to the arteries near the lungs and heart. This is known as PE or pulmonary embolism. PE can cause breathing issues, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension. 10% of the DVT becomes PE.
People with high blood pressure and high cholesterol have the risk of experiencing blood clots. A blood clot can be treated by doing surgery or thrombolytic therapy.
What is Leg cramp?
Leg cramp refers to sudden episodic pain in the muscles of the legs which is caused by involuntary contraction of the muscles of the leg. A leg cramp is not a severe health issue and in a leg cramp the muscles of the legs suddenly become tight and it causes pain. Generally, leg cramp occurs in the calf muscles. Sometimes leg cramps can be felt in the feet and thighs.
Most of the time, leg cramps happen at night during sleep time. Leg cramp can occur due to over-exercise, pregnancy, liver disease, and several medications like statins. But mostly leg cramp is caused by dehydration and aging problems. Aged people mostly experience leg cramps. During leg cramps, leg muscles suddenly contract or shorten which causes pain.
Leg cramps generally last for a few seconds to ten minutes. When the muscle pain stops the affected muscles in the leg can be controlled. A leg cramp is generally diagnosed by physical testing, sometimes doctors may suggest a blood test to diagnose leg cramp.
Most of the time, leg cramp is treated by exercise and doing stretches. Medications are required only in the most lasting cases. Leg cramp during pregnancy stops after the delivery of the baby.
Main Difference Between Blood Clot and Leg Cramp
- Symptoms of a blood clot are felt if they occur in the wrong place. Symptoms like headache, leg cramp, chest pain, and breathing problems are the main symptoms of a blood clot. On the other hand, the symptom of a leg cramp is always felt. Its symptoms include a hard lump, swelling, and pain in the leg muscle.
- The causes of a blood clot are antiphospholipid syndrome, heart issues, having V Leiden, having surgery, having birth control pills, or being pregnant. The causes of a leg cramp are over-exercise, spinal compression, DVT.
- To diagnose a blood clot doctors may suggest doing MRI, CT scan, or angiogram. A leg cramp can be easily diagnosed by a physical exam.
- Doctors may suggest surgery or thrombolytic therapy for treating a blood clot. A leg cramp can be treated at home by applying cold or heat on the legs, taking painkillers, doing stretches.
- A blood clot is a more severe health issue compared to a leg cramp and it may indicate high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and having blood clotting disorder. A leg cramp is not severe health issue like blood clots. It mostly happens in old ages, or due to dehydration.
Blood clot and leg cramp both cause pain in the calf muscles of the leg. Blood clots and leg cramps can have the same types of symptoms. But some indications can differentiate these two. Blood clot generally causes one-sided redness, swelling, while leg cramp occurs at night during sleep time. Leg cramp occurs suddenly and lasts a few times.
A blood clot is severe and can be life-threatening compared to a leg cramp. Blood clots in the legs may cause pulmonary embolism, which can result in heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, breathing issues. On the other hand, leg cramps are very common and mainly caused by dehydration and mostly suffered by the aged person.
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