Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Healthy Habits: Stop the Clot

There is one potentially life-saving question that you’ve probably never asked: Could anyone in my family be at risk for a blood clot?T he National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) is trying to raise awareness about life-threatening blood clots and to help urge people everywhere to ask themselves that same question.

Each year, blood clots affect more people than AIDS, breast cancer, and automobile accidents combined.  Equally important, blood clots do not discriminate.  Blood clots can affect anyone – from infants and young children to teens, young moms and dads, people of middle age, and senior citizens too. Across the country and around the globe, people from all walks of life are affected, even elite athletes. In the U.S. alone, up to 900,000 people each year are affected by blood clots in their legs (known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT) and blood clots in their lungs (known as pulmonary embolism or PE).  

Blood clots can be prevented and they can be safely treated. The first and best way to prevent them is to learn if you’re at risk. That's why NBCA, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has launched a new campaign called Stop the Clot, Spread the Word™ to help people learn more about blood clot risk factors, signs and symptoms, as well as prevention.

Do you know your risks? Some of the major risk factors for blood clots include: hospitalization, surgery, cancer and cancer treatments, pregnancy, and the use of estrogen-based birth control and hormone replacement therapy. Any family history of blood clots is very important to know about too, because up to eight percent of people in the U.S. are estimated to have one of several genetic risk factors that can increase the risk for blood clots. Also, being bedridden, immobile, and even sitting too long at your desk or computer can put you at risk for blood clots, so experts advise that you get up and move around every hour or two. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms as well. The symptoms of blood clots in your leg or arm include pain, swelling, tenderness, and redness or discoloration of the skin. The symptoms of blood clots in your lungs include shortness of breath, sharp chest pain that worsens with deep breathing, and coughing up blood. 

On average, 1 person dies every 6 minutes due to a blood clot. Learn more in the video below.

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