Experiencing a blood clot, most likely either deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE), might feel scary. After you’ve been treated and you're ready to go home and get on with life, you may worry about how your blood clot will change the way you live. It's also common to fear that another blood clot will develop. And you might be concerned that it will be too hard to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle enough to lower your risk. Such worries are normal, but what should you really expect when it comes to life after a blood clot?

Psychological effects

In many cases, people who survive a blood clot are struck by the experience of having what feels to them like a brush with death. Even if the clot was minor, the thought of not making it out of the hospital may be disturbing. According to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s website Clot Connect, people who have had a blood clot often have high levels of anxiety or depression following treatment. This is a natural reaction to any potentially life-threatening event.

Speak to your doctor about the emotional effects of your blood clot.

If the doctor puts the patient on blood thinners, such as warfarin, he or she may be more likely to experience these emotions as side effects of the medication. Speak to your doctor about the emotional effects of your blood clot. He or she may prescribe antidepressants or suggest that you speak with a therapist about your feelings.

Physical effects

As you convalesce, you may notice shortness of breath and minor pain or pressure in the lungs. In time, doctor-approved exercise will help to ease these symptoms. For the first few weeks after having DVT or a PE, you may feel exhausted. Be patient and remember your body has been through a lot. There is no set time that it'll take for you to feel 100 percent. It's important to pay attention to your body and how it responds to the medications you're taking. Talk to your doctor if you feel like a certain prescription doesn't work or causes troublesome side effects. Your doctor can work with you to ensure that your recovery is as easy as possible.

Lifestyle changes

As with any cardiovascular problem, it's important to take steps that will help you stay healthy for a lifetime. This includes eating a heart-healthy diet, quitting smoking, and getting regular physical activity. According to the National Blood Clot Alliance, it's important not to push yourself too hard while recovering from having a blood clot. Try low-impact exercises like swimming until your doctor gives you the go-ahead to return to your regular fitness routine. Getting plenty of physical activity will help reduce your lingering symptoms.