The Silent Killer

by Nigel Gayle - Date: 2006-12-07 - Word Count: 337 Share This!

I got interested in this topic while watching TV and Melanie Bloom was a guest on NBC. Melanie is the wife of NBC Iraq correspondent David Bloom. I saw Melanie on TV one day last week.

Melanie got a phone call one night in April 2003. She was told her husband was dead. Through a fog of shock and grief she able to ask two questions, "What?" and "He died of what?" She like three-quarter of Americans has never heard of Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT). And yet this unknown, unseen condition took the life of her husband and the father of her three little girls.

DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a large vein, usually in a leg. If the clot breaks loose, migrate to the lungs and block a pulmonary artery or one of its branches you have a condition that is known as pulmonary embolism or PE. PE is fatal most of the time.

It has rightly been called a silent epidemic. DVT affects up to 2 million American per year and PE cause up to 200,000 US deaths annually- more than aids and breast cancer combined.

Among hospital patients, DVT and PE are the number one cause of unexpected death. Worst, two out three such deaths could have been prevented, according to the American Public Health Association (APHA).

And yet few people know of this killer. Nearly three-quarters of Americans have little or no awareness of either DVT or PE according to the APHA.

This is an equal opportunity disease. It does not discriminate between young, old, male, female, fit and unfit. Risk factors or triggering events include cancer, immobility from acute illness or surgery, obesity, pregnancy, long-distance travel with little mobility, post menopausal hormone replacement therapy and even going on the "pill".

David had at least three key risk factors for DVT. There was per long immobility as he worked and ate in a tank. Next he was dehydrated. He carried an inherited blood coagulant disorder called factor V Leiden, a symptom free condition that increases risk of DVT.

Related Tags: silent killer, epidemic, pe, dvt, apha

Every one should take a moment to read more at Everyone should know. Doctors can readily prevent or treat DVT with blood thinning drugs. Too few health care professionals routinely assess risk for the disease, leading to unnecessary deaths according to the APHA. I hope I was able to make you more aware of the dangers of DVT.

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