Obesity. Smoking. High blood pressure. Almost everyone knows
these are hazards to your health. But did you know that dehydration, a
recent pregnancy, prolonged immobility, varicose veins and birth control
pills can also trigger a life-threatening condition that kills more
people annually than breast cancer and AIDS combined?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) threatens nearly one million
Americans each year. Yet, surprisingly, many people have little or no
awareness of this condition or know how to recognize its signs and
symptoms. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the large veins,
usually in the legs, leading to either partially or completely blocked
circulation. If left untreated, this clot has the potential to move into
the lungs and produce a pulmonary embolism requiring immediate medical
attention. Although preventable, almost 300,000 Americans die annually
from DVT and its primary complication, pulmonary embolism.
Fortunately, if caught in time, DVT is
completely treatable. The classic signs of DVT, especially if it occurs
in the lower extremities, are leg pain, swelling, tenderness, and
redness or discoloration of the skin. The bad news is that, about half
of the time, DVT has no symptoms at all. By the time you show symptoms
of a pulmonary embolism, it might be too late for you to receive
emergency care. Typical symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are: shortness
of breath, rapid pulse, sweating, sharp chest pain that worsens with
deep breathing, low blood pressure, unconsciousness and coughing up
The first and most important step in protecting yourself from a potentially fatal DVT is to know whether you are at risk. Please take the DVT risk assessment. Then, be sure to discuss the test results with your doctor to determine what you can do to protect yourself from a future DVT.
Be Clot Aware
Be Clot Aware is an initiative to educate patients on DVT risk and prevention. Follow Be Clot Aware on Twitter and YouTube: know your Caprini score and save your life.
The Illinois State Medical Society supports Be Clot Aware
in partnership with ISMS member Joseph A. Caprini, MD, a vascular
surgeon at NorthShore University HealthSystem. Dr. Caprini’s DVT risk
assessment is internationally recognized and made available for pdf download and is also available as a free iPhone app.
Free paper copies of the Caprini Risk Assessment can be requested via email. Please indicate the quantity you require and a mailing address.