How Long Before A Pulmonary Embolism Kills You?

how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you

Younger people aren’t exposed to many health risks, but one thing that may kill a young, healthy person unexpectedly: is a pulmonary embolism. But, how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you? Well, the answer varies from one person to another. Some people may perish within the first few days, and some may even survive a few years. 

However, is it painful to die from a blood clot? Of course, it is. Meanwhile, a blood clot could indicate several diseases, and almost all of them are equally life-threatening. If a blood clot results in deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, it poses even more risks. So, let’s find out how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you eventually. 

What Is Pulmonary Embolism? 

What Is Pulmonary Embolism?

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that originates in the deep veins of the legs or arms and travels to the lungs. This blood clot has the potential to break loose and move through the body, eventually reaching the lungs. The patient may feel severe chest discomfort and a substantial risk of cardiac arrest once the clot reaches the lungs.

Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms:

Can blood clots kill you? Of course, they can, especially if the blood clots are as deadly as a pulmonary embolism. So, how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you?

Well, before the deadly clot is detected at a hospital or emergency room, up to one-third of people with a pulmonary embolism will die of cardiac collapse. In addition, PE symptoms are often non-specific until it escalates to an emergency scenario, which contributes to the high death rate.

Patients have reported their pulmonary embolisms symptoms like indigestion, pain in the upper abdomen, unusual calf discomfort, or even unexplained shortness of breath lasting a week or more. Unfortunately, all of these symptoms might be mistaken for something more innocuous, which is why there’s no definite answer to the ‘how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you’ question.

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The symptoms of pulmonary embolism are;

  • A sudden start of respiratory problems.
  • The overnight onset of chronic shortness of breath.
  • Continuous pain or discomfort in the chest.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Loss of consciousness for a short period.
  • Coughing blood.
  • Fever.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Discolored skin.
  • Leg pain or swelling.

Pulmonary Embolism Causes:

Pulmonary Embolism Causes

Before we tell you how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you, let us inform you about the possible causes of this disease. The trouble with these clots, according to PE specialists, is that the symptoms are not only non-specific but also unexpected. Doctors have seen individuals with seemingly minor signs, only to find out later that they had a massive clot. 

So, how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you? It depends on several health factors. On the other hand, some individuals in excruciating pain may have a small embolism that can be addressed with medicines. There are several reasons for pulmonary embolisms, such as;

  • Continuous and long flights.
  • Prolonged immobility due to bed rest.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Undergoing surgery.
  • Injury.
  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Heart disease.
  • Smoking.
  • Age.
  • Obesity.
  • Testosterone boosters.
  • Supplemental estrogen.
  • Fat is stored in the marrow of a broken bone.

In some instances of pulmonary embolism deaths, genetics plays a role. During the 1990s and early 2000s, there was a lot of study on a possible genetic disorder or family link to increase the risk of developing PE. Multiple genes and mutations have been found to enhance a person’s risk of such deadly blood clot formation. 

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How Long Before A Pulmonary Embolism Kills You?

Death from pulmonary embolism is a standard consequence of this disease. But, how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you? 

According to the CDC research reports, almost 10%-30% of people suffering from pulmonary embolism will die within the first month. But, 25% of people also experience sudden death as the only symptom of pulmonary embolism. But, it only happens when your blood clot is vast and is forced to cause a cardiac arrest. 

So, how do you die from pulmonary embolism? Pulmonary embolism causes blood clots in your lungs, resulting in a lack of blood flow and ultimately tissue damage. It can also lower your oxygen levels and damage other organs in the human body. There are 70% of people who died of pulmonary embolism within 7 days. 

However, if doctors diagnose this disease on time and start the treatment at the early onset, you can also be fully recovered from this disease. So, you can survive for many years if the disease is detected early before figuring out again how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you. 

We have to inform you that pulmonary embolism has zero risk of recurrence in this context. However, if you have already been treated for this disease and developed one blood clot after a few years, it is probably a new embolism. 

How To Prevent Pulmonary Embolism?

How To Prevent Pulmonary Embolism?
  1. You must try to get out of bed as soon as possible if you have undergone surgery and been advised to bed rest. Take multiple laps around the corridors. Walking from bed to chair or bathroom and back is insufficient, so try to get rid of your immobility phase with therapies or massage sessions if you don’t want a death from pulmonary embolism.
  2. You can wear elastic compression stockings because they squeeze your veins and nerves with the highest pressure, increasing blood flow. In addition, it is a much more inexpensive and safe way to prevent your blood from stagnating if you’ve recently gone through surgery.
  3. Sequential Compression Devices have been proven to be quite effective, but only when worn regularly. They keep the blood flowing by squeezing your legs. But, the basic guideline is that these boots must be worn if the patient will be sitting or lying motionless for longer than half an hour.
  4. Doctors can prescribe anticoagulants to patients who have recently had surgery and have an increased risk of developing blood clots. Not only that, but if people are admitted to a hospital with cancer, heart disease, or stroke, they should also be given these blood thinners to prevent pulmonary embolism death.
  5. Last but not least, you must engage yourself in ample physical activities because a pulmonary embolism death in sleep can only happen if you don’t move your muscles much. Therefore, engage yourself in light physical exercises if you don’t want to know how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you.

Life After Pulmonary Embolism:

The long-term consequences of a PE episode are no longer as severe as they formerly were. Therefore, before and after therapy, physicians stratify the risks of each PE patient. For example, they determine the severity of the clot, the amount of threat it poses, the possibility of recurrence, and so on. 

This classification determines the treatment and follow-up care a patient should get. PE can be treated with a blood thinner prescription and sent home the same day or after a few days of monitoring in the hospital for lower-risk individuals.

For individuals at higher risk, the clot is frequently treated right away with clot-busting medicines or surgery. In addition, patients may expect a certain amount of after-care following embolism surgery based on the kind of risk assessment they got during the treatment.

Patients who have a low risk of clotting again should anticipate using blood thinners for just a few months following therapy. However, patients at a high risk of clotting again might expect to be on long-term drug therapy.

Fortunately for patients, today’s blood-thinning drugs are safer, easier, and more effective. In addition, these drugs are taken once or twice a day and do not require the same kind of blood testing or dietary adjustments as previous prescriptions did.


Q1: Is Heparin A Useful Medicine To Treat Pulmonary Embolism?

Ans: Heparin and other anti-clotting drugs were once considered potentially harmful by doctors. With most types of surgery and most patients, current research has proven that such allegations are unjustified. If your doctor advises you against Heparin, it’s better if you seek a second opinion. 

Q2: Can Genetic Testing Cure Pulmonary Embolism?

Ans: According to recent research, up to 100 genes are implicated in the clotting cascade process, with up to 5,000 variations that can increase or reduce a person’s risk of creating a deadly clot. Given that most DNA tests only look for five or fewer of these mutations, a negative result would merely lull you into a false feeling of security.

3: How Fast Does Pulmonary Embolism Kill? 

Ans: If your doctors detect your embolism at its earliest onset, most likely, you won’t experience pulmonary embolism death painful. However, if they catch it late, your chances of survival automatically decline.
People who died of pulmonary embolism mostly fell victim to the wrong diagnosis process.

The Bottom Line

If you have read this article thoroughly, you must already know how long before a pulmonary embolism kills you. We have also mentioned the symptoms, reasons, and probable preventive measures to protect you from this deadly disease. You should also drink plenty of fluids and consult the doctor if you notice any earlier mentioned symptoms. If you have any other questions, you can share them in the comment box below. 

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