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Surgeon General Issues "Call to Action" to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 12:01 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Protecting Your Family, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism, Surgeon General, Blood Clot


IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons / blood clot diagram / author: German

Simple leg pain can be a sign of a dangerous blood clot known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

In DVT, blood tends to pool in the legs, a condition that may cause thrombus, a blood clot that forms in a blood vessel.

If such a clot breaks loose and travels to a vital organ such as the lungs or brain, known as a pulmonary embolism (PE), blood flow may become obstructed and the result is often deadly.

Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism affects an estimated 350,000 to 600,000 Americans each year and together contribute to 100,000 deaths each year.

But both conditions can be easily prevented and treated, according to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office.

To raise awareness of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), the government has issued a “Call to Action” to help educate patients and health care workers to recognize the signs and symptoms of a blood clot before it’s too late.

“These easy-to-read guides are aimed at providing valuable information on preventing and treating dangerous blood clots,” said acting Surgeon General Dr. Steven Galson.

“Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms are often “silent” conditions that can occur suddenly and without warning,” Galson said. But, we have made great strides in understanding how these disorders develop and how they can be diagnosed, prevented and treated. Now, it’s time to put that knowledge into action.”

Individuals can do much more on their own to reduce their risk of complications. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has created a free consumer booklet titled, “Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Blood Clots,” available in both English and Spanish.

For health care professionals they have created Preventing Hospital-Acquired Venous Thromboembolism: A Guild for Effective Quality Improvement.

To prevent blood clots, the Patient Guide suggests:

» Limiting salt intake

» Exercise

» Changing positions often, especially during long trips

» Occasionally raising legs 6 inches above heart level

» Wearing special stockings (compression stockings) if/when prescribed

More valuable tips can be found in: Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Blood Clots. #

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