Are You At Risk for Clots?

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Venous thromboembolism (VTE), also known as blood clots, is a serious, growing public health issue that everyone should know about. Blood clots are preventable, yet an estimated 900,000 Americans are affected each year by a blood clot, resulting in nearly 100,000 deaths.

It is important to understand your risk for a blood clot and to know the signs and symptoms in order to seek treatment early and prevent death from a blood clot. Learn more about blood clots and read how the Stop the Clot, Spread the Word®external icon campaign is raising more awareness about blood clots.

What is a blood clot?

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that occurs in a deep vein, usually in the lower leg, thigh, pelvis, or arm. A DVT can occur without any symptoms, but it is often accompanied by swelling, pain, and redness of the skin. If a DVT is not treated, a part of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs, causing a blockage in the lungs called a pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE can cause symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, coughing, coughing up blood, and irregular heartbeats. It is important to seek immediate medical treatment when experiencing any of these symptoms. A DVT does not go away on its own. Only a healthcare provider can diagnose and treat a blood clot with medicine or in rare cases, surgery.

Who is at risk for a blood clot?

Blood clots can affect anyone at any age, but certain risk factors, such as surgery, hospitalization, pregnancy, cancer and some types of cancer treatments can increase risks. In addition, a family history of blood clots can increase a person’s risk. The chance of a blood clot increases when you have more risk factors.

Why is there limited awareness about blood clots?

Many people do not know much about blood clots and are not familiar with the signs and symptoms until it happens to them or someone they know. In addition, the signs and symptoms of a DVT and PE are similar to other health problems and can be misdiagnosed as other health conditions. A misdiagnosis can lead to delayed treatment of a DVT, resulting in a PE or even death.  Understanding your risk for a blood clot and the signs and symptoms can help you seek treatment at the earliest sign of a blood clot to protect your health.

What is the Stop the Clot, Spread the Word® campaign?

Stop the Clot, Spread the Word®external icon is a digital campaign aiming to address the limited awareness about blood clots. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA)external icon, the campaign builds public health awareness about VTE to prevent and reduce the occurrence of life-threatening blood clots. The campaign includes a suite of online resources on VTE available on the campaign’s web portal that can easily be accessed and shared with friends and family on social media. Campaign materials include educational tools, such as informative infographics, videos, and downloadable risk factor checklists that encourage you to ask yourself whether you might be at risk for a blood clot and to start a conversation with your healthcare provider.

Since the campaign’s launch in 2015, Stop the Clot, Spread the Word® remains at the forefront of highlighting VTE as a public health issue and in building awareness about the condition. The campaign reaches various groups, including those unaware of blood clots and its complications and people at high risk for developing a blood clot. The Stop the Clot, Spread the Word®  campaign has been nationally recognized for its important educational materials, which have been included in a toolkit or “compendium” of VTE resourcespdf iconexternal icon compiled by The Joint Commission, an organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States.

The final phase of the campaign will be a public service announcement (PSA), for radio and television that will be available for approximately twelve months. This PSA will share crucial information on the signs, symptoms, and risks for blood clots.

Are You At Risk?

Being aware of blood clots and knowing your risk can help save your life from a dangerous blood clot and its related health problems. Take action to protect your health.

Learn more information on blood clots at CDC’s webpage.

Visit Stop the Clot, Spread the Word®external icon web portal to learn more about your own personal risk, and share materials with your friends and family on social media to help stop the clot, spread the word.