Know throm­bo­sis: Recog­nis­ing the signs and symp­toms of dan­ger­ous blood clots

Times of Oman - - LIFESTYLE -

YOU MIGHT

be shocked to learn that one of the lead­ing causes of pre­ventable death is some­thing many peo­ple have never heard of — and of­ten don’t know they have. One in four peo­ple world­wide are dy­ing from con­di­tions caused by throm­bo­sis, mak­ing it a lead­ing global cause of death and dis­abil­ity. When a blood clot forms in an artery or vein, it can lead to heart at­tack, stroke, or a life-threat­en­ing clot in the lungs or leg, caus­ing ve­nous throm­boem­bolism (VTE).

“Throm­bo­sis is one of the lead­ing causes of death world­wide — one in four peo­ple are dy­ing from con­di­tions caused by throm­bo­sis — yet the se­ri­ous­ness of the is­sue is un­der ap­pre­ci­ated. The In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety on Throm­bo­sis and Hae­mosta­sis (ISTH) founded World Throm­bo­sis Day five years ago to in­crease aware­ness of this se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tion, and now we reach bil­lions of peo­ple around the world each year,” said Dr Gary Raskob, PhD, Chair­man of the World Throm­bo­sis Day Steer­ing Com­mit­tee.

Here’s what you need to know about throm­bo­sis:

Throm­bo­sis is the for­ma­tion of po­ten­tially deadly blood clots in an artery (ar­te­rial throm­bo­sis) or vein (ve­nous throm­bo­sis). When a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the leg, it is known as deep vein throm­bo­sis (DVT). If a blood clot trav­els in the cir­cu­la­tion and lodges in the lungs, it is known as a pul­monary em­bolism (PE). To­gether, DVT and PE are known as ve­nous throm­boem­bolism (VTE), a dan­ger­ous and po­ten­tially deadly med­i­cal con­di­tion. DVT + PE = VTE. A blood clot that forms as a re­sult of atrial fib­ril­la­tion (AFib) is an ex­am­ple of ar­te­rial throm­boem­bolism. If that clot breaks free, it can travel in the cir­cu­la­tion and lodge in an artery in the brain and cause a stroke. World Throm­bo­sis Day is ded­i­cated to ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about the risk fac­tors, signs, and symp­toms of throm­bo­sis. Up to 60 per cent of VTE cases oc­cur dur­ing or within 90 days of hospi­tal­i­sa­tion. Women should also be aware of their in­creased risk for throm­bo­sis dur­ing preg­nancy or if they take oe­stro­gen-con­tain­ing med­i­ca­tions (birth con­trol pills or hor­mone re­place­ment ther­apy). A fam­ily his­tory of throm­bo­sis or cer­tain ge­netic fac­tors can also in­crease a per­son’s risk of de­vel­op­ing blood clots.

If you are at el­e­vated throm­bo­sis risk, it is es­pe­cially im­por­tant to know the signs and symp­toms of the con­di­tion so you can seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion as soon as pos­si­ble. Symp­toms of a DVT in­clude pain or ten­der­ness, swelling, red­ness, dis­coloura­tion or warmth in your calf and/ or thigh. Peo­ple with PE of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence short­ness of breath, rapid breath­ing, chest pain (which may be worse with deep breaths), rapid heart rate and light-head­ed­ness and/or pass­ing out. If you ex­pe­ri­ence any of these symp­toms, seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion im­me­di­ately.

“It’s very hard to be an ad­vo­cate for your­self when you’re sick and in pain,” says Ca­role Chrvala, a pro­fes­sional epi­demi­ol­o­gist who suf­fered VTE

many ques­tions as you pos­si­bly can. Bring some­body with you that you trust to ask ques­tions on your be­half. Good med­i­cal care is a team ef­fort and the pa­tient is a key player on that team, with im­por­tant self-knowl­edge and aware­ness that in­creases the like­li­hood that health­care de­ci­sions are tai­lored to the in­di­vid­ual pa­tient.”—BPT

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