Blood clots are one of the most preventable causes of death among hospitalized patients. About 400,000 in the US and 10 million people around the world are diagnosed with blood clots every year. In the US alone the cost related to blood clots is close to $10 Billion. Prolonged immobility due to sickness, hospitalization, surgery, or travel is the most common cause of venous blood clots. Obesity, smoking, pregnancy, birth control pills, cancer can increase the risk further.
World Thrombosis Day, founded by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), is a global initiative held annually on October 13th with the mission is to raise awareness about thrombosis, that is about blood clots, a condition often underestimated and misunderstood.
“October 13th is World Thrombosis Day, aimed at increasing awareness of blood clots which are one of the most common preventable cause of death, especially in hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Satheesh Kathula, MD, FACP, DipABLM, Clinical Professor of Medicine; Hematologist and Oncologist, and President Elect, AAPI. “I was honored to be invited as a chief guest for an event promoting awareness of blood clots in Austin, Texas last week.”
Blood is in fluid state because we have perfect balance of factors promoting and preventing blood clots. If there is imbalance it will result in blood clots.
About 10 million people are diagnosed with blood clots every year in the world. About 400,000 cases are diagnosed every year in the United States and the cost related to blood in the US healthcare system is close to $10 billion every year. 1 in 4 deaths are felt to be due to clotting of blood.
Type of blood clots:
Blood clots can form either in the arteries or veins due to different set of risk factors and lead to different type of damage to the organs. Venous clots are more common due to passive flow and the most common cause of death due to venous clots is pulmonary embolism (clots traveling to lungs). 60% of venous clots are due to hospitalization.
If there is endothelial (inner lining of the blood vessels) damage, inflammation or venous stasis ( pooling of the blood). Any of these can lead to disturbance in the smooth flow of blood resulting in blood clots.
Prolonged immobility due to being sick or hospitalization, surgery, travel is one of the most common cause of blood clots. Obesity, smoking, pregnancy, being on birth control pills, cancer will increase the risk further. Some people are born with (hereditary) risk factors such as factor V Leiden and prothrombin gene mutations, protein C, S, and anti-thrombin III deficiency.
Blood clots are treated with blood thinners which are available widely in the form of IV, injections or pills.
Blood clots are highly preventable cause of morbidity and death. Early and frequent ambulation of hospital patients is of paramount importance. People who travel either by road or air should get up and walk every 2 hours or so. Loosing weight, if one is obese; quitting smoking are highly encouraged. Those who are at high risk should receive prophylactic blood thinners as a preventive measure, especially when they are hospitalized, undergoing surgery or become pregnant.
“As a hematologist treating patients with blood clots for over 22 years and as a life style medicine promoter, my message on this day is to MOVE.. MOVE and MOVE!” says, Dr. Kathula, who has dedicated nearly a quarter century of his life in preventing and treating Thrombosis.