Blood clots kill every five minutes: group

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Complications from deep vein thrombosis kill one person every five minutes, according to the Vascular Disease Foundation. Overall, between 100,000 to 180,000 Americans die from DVT-related consequences each year, the group notes.

Because blood clots can permanently damage the veins, as many as half of all DVT survivors can experience long-term leg pain, heaviness and swelling. These problems often progress to ulcers, difficulty in walking and skin color changes.

The foundation said that Americans need to learn more about the risks of venous blood clots. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in the deep veins, usually of the pelvis or leg. Besides the risk of pressure ulcers, DVT can be fatal if a blood clot breaks free, travels through the heart and lodges in the lung arteries.

The group noted that anyone can be at risk for DVT. However, chances of being affected are heightened as the following risk factors add up: Risk factors include: extended bed rest; older age; cancer and treatments; a history of clotting disorder or previous DVT; hospitalization for any medical reason; recent major surgery; injury or trauma; family history of DVT; obesity; smoking.

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