A 29-year-old woman coughed up blood for several days due to multiple blood clots in her lungs.

A certain amount of clotting in our blood is needed to stop excessive bleeding when you suffer from a cut. However, clots that do not naturally dissolve on their own are a concern. This is because they can travel to the vital organs of the body, leading to potentially life-threatening situations.

This was the case with one 29-year-old “active” woman from the United States.

Sarah Cook, now 40, was diagnosed with a multiple bilateral pulmonary embolism in 2011 after symptoms appeared for several days.

Her story was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a case study.

She explained her symptoms: “My experience started with coughing up blood, only in the morning, for a few days.

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“Then my lungs started to hurt and quickly progressed to the point where I couldn’t lie down.

“I started coughing up more blood throughout the day. I didn’t have shortness of breath.”

She made an appointment with her doctor, who performed several tests and ordered a CT scan to determine if there was a blood clot.

That night, Sarah “barely slept” as she suffered from a fever.

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Then, at 4 am, she began to vomit blood. In the morning, she returned to her doctor’s office and sent her straight to the emergency room (ER).

“The emergency medical team checked my blood for genetic disorders and did an ultrasound of both of my legs looking for signs or evidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) but found nothing.

“Shortly after completing the CT scan on the same day, a doctor came to me and said that I had multiple blood clots in both lungs and that I was being hospitalized.

“A few minutes later I had my first injection of blood thinner. I wasn’t sure what it all meant exactly.

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“I had heard the term ‘pulmonary embolism’ before but didn’t know what it was.”

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot enters the pulmonary artery and blocks blood flow. It can be life threatening if not dealt with quickly.

Sarah was released from the hospital three days later, but for the next three months she was unable to work and was recovering.

She said: “Even on painkillers, I had constant pain until almost November, when I was able to lie down again.

“After I was discharged from the hospital, I visited a hematologist and he told me that I tested positive for an inherited bleeding disorder called factor V Leiden (FVL).

“They believe that FVL combined with birth control is the cause of the pulmonary embolism.”

She was then prescribed blood-thinning medications and returned to part-time work.

“I found it to be a slow and long recovery process,” she added.

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