GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one American dies of a blood clot every 6 minutes.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis, we spoke with an expert, who says blood clots do not discriminate– so it’s critical to know if you are at risk.

Blood clots affect people of all ages, races, and gender.

“A blood clot is a little ball in your vein, or your arteries, any type of blood vessel.”

Dr. Surabhi Gaur, Chief Medical Officer, Bon Secours St. Francis

Bon Secours chief medical officer, Dr. Surabhi Gaur, says knowing the risk factors gives you a better chance at preventing one.

“Usually, though, it’s people that have been sick with something like cancer or any disease or immunocompromised, as well as pregnant people. And then, as I said, some medications may make you more likely to clot,” said Dr. Gaur.

Doctor Gaur says those with a sedentary lifestyle, like a patient recovering from surgery, have a higher risk of developing a clot.

It can happen anywhere in the body, but…

“Typically, clots are found in veins in the legs. That’s the most popular place where we tend to find them.”

Dr. Surabhi Gaur, Chief Medical Officer, Bon Secours St. Francis

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a clot can be lifesaving.

“You’re gonna get kind of what feels like a tense muscle at first. You’re gonna get maybe some redness, definitely some swelling, and it’s just gonna feel hard and tense,” said Dr. Gaur.

It’s time to call the doctor if you feel a hard spot or clot anywhere on your body or if you notice redness and swelling.

“For most body parts, you can do an ultrasound to find a blood clot. Sometimes CAT scans pick them up or MRIs too, but typically, the first test, if you’re worried about a blood clot, is to do some type of ultrasound,” said Dr. Gaur.

Treatment of a blood clot depends on where its located.

“If they’re in a shallower vein, you can just put compresses on them. They’ll usually dissolve on their own… sometimes, depending on the size of the clot and where it is, some doctors will even prescribe aspirin to break it up,” said Dr. Gaur.

If the clot is located in a deeper vein, then it’s a different story.

“It’s because that clot could travel. So, certain clots, starting in certain parts of the body, typically the legs, if they’re in a deeper vein, those veins will connect up to the blood vessels around the heart and lungs and then they can deposit there. That’s why we try to treat them and that treatment is more aggressive with a more powerful blood thinner,” said Dr. Gaur.

Dr. Gaur says some people with a family history of blood clotting are predisposed to developing a clot at some point in their life. If this is you, go ahead and talk to your doctor about monitoring and preventing one.

To submit a health topic for our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, click here.