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, one person every minute will be diagnosed with a DVT and one person every six minutes will die of a PE. In 25 percent of the people who experience DVT, the first symptom is sudden death. Ten to 30 percent of those diagnosed with DVT and subsequent PE will die within the first month of diagnoses.

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:
Additional Important Information to Know and Share (external sites):

Stop the Clot, Spread the Word™: Blood clots are serious and can happen to anyone, but they are also preventable. Learn more about risk factors for blood clots, signs and symptoms of blood clots and ways to prevent blood clots.

Women and Blood Clots: Women face unique choices throughout their entire lives that place them at risk for blood clots. This elevated risk is connected to choices women make regarding: