Lahore     -   There was a time when an inherited risk factor or family history accounted for most of the deaths due to thrombosis. With the passage of time, several other factors have been detected and identified as key triggers for this deadly disease causing at least 3 million deaths a year worldwide.

Thrombosis is a condition in which blood clots form (most often) in the deep vein of the leg known as deep vein thrombosis ( DVT) and can travel in the circulation and lodge in the lungs (known as pulmonary embolism, PE) and both these terms together known as Venous Thrombo Embolism (VTE).

Travelling for extensive hours or hospitalised for a prolonged period of time, there can be an increased risk developing blood clots in veins that could eventually result in thrombosis.

 “VTE can be life-threatening. It is the number one cause of preventable in-hospital mortality. We have to understand the significance of its preventable measures that can be taken in time. There is need of a comprehensive programme in Pakistan that could create awareness amongst the masses including physicians about the risk, symptoms and consequences of VTE.” says Dr. Zia Ur Rehman, Assistant Professor and Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Aga Khan University Hospital.

Being an underlying pathology of heart attack, thromboembolic stroke, and venous thromboembolism (VTE), the signs and symptoms of DVT include pain and/or tenderness in the calf or thigh; swelling of the leg, foot and/or ankle; redness and/or noticeable discoloration of the affected region.

In order to identify whether an individual is ‘at-risk,’ a VTE risk assessment can be conducted gathering information about a patient’s age, medical history, medications and specific lifestyle factors that help in determining a person’s potential risk for developing blood clots.

 “The prevalence of this deadly disease is very alarming as 1 in 4 people worldwide die of Thrombosis and there is little to no awareness in the region amongst the majority. However, taking preventive measures such as maintaining a healthy weight and diet, no smoking, daily exercise, staying hydrated and avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or inactivity can help in warding off the risks,” advises Dr. Munira Borhany, Consultant Hematologist, National Institute of Blood Diseases.

While thrombosis is more common than we actually realize, the fatality rate owing to it can be decreased by following an old adage:“prevention is better than cure.”