About Blood Clots

Blood clots, including those of the leg (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) and those of the lung (pulmonary embolism or PE), affect about 900,000 Americans each year and cause more deaths than breast cancer, AIDS, and motor vehicle accidents (Source: National Blood Clot Alliance), yet so many people don’t even know what blood clots are or why they are dangerous.

In the United States:

  • 1 person every minute will be diagnosed with a DVT
  • 1 person every 6 minutes will die of a PE 
  • 25 percent of the people who experience PE, the first symptom is sudden death 
  • 10 to 30 percent of those diagnosed PE will die within the first month of diagnosis

One-half of clot patients will have long-term complications and one-third will have a recurrence within ten years. Among people who have had a DVT, one-half will have long-term complications (commonly associated with post-thrombotic syndrome or PTS) such as swelling, pain, discoloration, scaling and ulcers in the affected limb according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

It is clear no matter what the numbers, DVT and PE have become a major public health risk in the United States and have ranked as high as third in mortality rates following heart disease and cancer, yet it is virtually unheard of in the general population.

Blood clots don’t discriminate. You’re at risk for a DVT (and potentially a PE) if you are sitting for long periods of time, such as when driving or flying; have an inherited a blood-clotting disorder; are on prolonged bed rest, such as during a long hospital stay or paralysis; have had an injury or surgery; are pregnant; have cancer; have inflammatory bowel disease; have heart disease; take birth control or hormone replacement therapy; have a pacemaker or catheter; have had a DVT or PE previously; have a family history of DVT or PE; are overweight or obese; are a smoker; are over 6o years old; are tall; or are a female.

Important Information to Know and Share: