Thursday, March 28, 2013

DVT Awareness: Reality Check

Mortality Rates For Blood Clots Are Startling. But How Focused Are We On Awareness?  

In the past decade, breast cancer awareness campaigns have grown to include their own merchandise and
even a signature color. The general public seems highly educated about this issue and that’s a good thing. But did you know that the number of deaths from blood clots in the U.S. exceeds the number of deaths from what we consider some our biggest killers?

Studies show that in the United States and United Kingdom, VTEs (Venous Thromboembolisms) kill more people than AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer and traffic accidents combined. A study by the Mayo Clinic estimates that more than one thousand Mainers die as a result of blood clots every year (a figure that is likely on the low side).

According to recent federal research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it is estimated that venous thromboembolism (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms collectively) costs the U.S. hospital system more than $340 million per year.

Our Efforts Are Making a Difference

  • In 2003, more than 50 organizations assembled in Washington, DC, to discuss the need to make DVT a national public health priority. This gathering resulted in the establishment of the Coalition to Prevent DVT, which declared March as DVT Awareness Month. Their efforts included encouraging DVT screenings, producing an educational video with mobility tips and exercises, and customizing an RV to visit hospitals and communities across the country. 
  • Here in Maine, then-Governor John Baldacci, proclaimed November 2008 as “Thrombosis Awareness Month" in the state.  
  • The mission of the National Blood Clot Association (NBCA), also founded in 2003, is to educate people about the danger, prevention, and treatment of blood clots and clotting disorders, and DVT awareness is a cornerstone of its work.
  • In 2009, the NBCA received two program grants totaling $2.6 million over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These funds support programs directed at curbing the devastating effects caused each year to over 350,000 Americans who develop a blood clot. 

Because of the efforts of these and other patient-led and professional advocacy groups, public awareness of DVT and blood clots is increasing, but it hasn’t yet reached the level of ubiquity that breast cancer awareness has.

Learn More About DVT Prevention 

If you are a patient, ask your physician about DVT prevention, or make an appointment with a vein specialist to learn about your risk and prevention techniques. Or, find out more from the following online resources: – from The National Blood Clot Alliance – created by Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis – from The CHEST Foundation of the ACCP – information about women and DVT

Are you a Physician?

Primary care doctors are on the front lines of reducing the growing number of people suffering with symptoms of venous disease.  Vein Health News serves as a resource for well-researched meaningful information that you can pass on to your patients.

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