Is DVT risk greater in women?

March is DVT Awareness Month

belly of pregnant woman

Pregnancy is one of the risk factors for developing DVT

A woman’s risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) varies with hormonal exposure, making pregnancy, use of hormone replacement therapy or birth control products important risk factors. According to the Vascular Disease Foundation, DVT and PE are the most common causes of maternal-related deaths.

Preventing blood clots during pregnancy

What can you do to prevent clots during pregnancy? The American Society of Hematology recommends the following:

  • Be aware of risk factors.
  • Know your family history.
  • Make sure your doctor knows about any history of blood clots or blood clotting disorders in your family.
  • Remain active, with your doctor’s approval.
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of a blood clot. Visit your doctor immediately if you think you have one.

Here’s to your vein health

March is DVT Awareness Month

Back of bare legsDr. Lisa Pavone is a strong supporter of vein disease awareness. “Venous health issues are prevalent,” she says, noting that as many as 50 percent of individuals over the age of 50 have some sort of vein health issue, which could include:

  • Deep or superficial vein thrombosis (blood clots)
  • Phlebitis
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Varicose and spider veins
  • Venous ulcers

What are the risks of untreated vein disease? If the valves inside your leg veins are damaged as a result of vein disease, the valves may not close completely, allowing blood to leak backward or flow in both directions, affecting leg health.

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What you need to know about deep vein thrombosis

March is DVT Awareness Month

barelegs

Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when a blood clot forms in the large veins of the legs or pelvic region. If the clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, a pulmonary embolism (PE) may result.

According to national estimates, approximately 900,000 people are affected by deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism each year. Dr. Thomas Wakefield, head of vascular surgery at the University of Michigan, says identifying the patient’s risk factors is important in preventing DVT. “If there is a risk, you can modify and reduce that risk in many cases.”

Who’s at risk for DVT?

Risk factors for DVT and PE include:

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Hypertension No Match for DASH Diet

U-M study shows drop in blood pressure after just 21 days

Hypertension was no match for the DASH diet during a University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study in which patients with a certain type of heart failure were given heat-and-serve low-sodium (low-salt) meals for three weeks.

Tipped over salt shaker

Hypertension was no match for the DASH diet during a study in which patients with a certain type of heart failure were given heat-and-serve low-sodium (low-salt) meals for three weeks.

In just 21 days of following a low-sodium Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, patients with  “diastolic” heart failure saw a drop in blood pressure similar to taking an anti-hypertension medicine. Some patients were able to cut back on their diuretics and anti-hypertensives.

Diastolic heart failure (a type of heart failure that occurs even though the heart’s muscle-pumping function is not weakened), happens when the heart becomes stiff and does not relax enough between beats. This condition makes up more than half of older adults with heart failure, but has no standard treatment. University of Michigan cardiologist Scott L. Hummel, M.D., M.S, wondered if, based on animal studies, diet could make a big difference for these patients.

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Protecting the Heart: Cardiovascular Risks Decline, but Vigilance is Warranted

In the pursuit of malignant tumor cells, normal tissues and organs get caught in the crossfire of cancer treatment. This has been especially true of the heart. In earlier decades, radiation to the chest could carry deadly cardiovascular risks. Newer treatment methods, however, are putting the odds in patients’ favor.

Lori Jo Pierce, M.D.

Lori Jo Pierce, M.D.

“Technological advances now allow doctors to minimize cardiovascular risks of radiation therapy,” says Lori Jo Pierce, M.D., a U-M professor of radiation oncology. Her research focuses on the use of radiation therapy in the multi-modality treatment of breast cancer. Dr. Pierce is participating in the Cancer Center’s 2013 Breast Cancer Summit 2013 as a panel speaker on “Research: What questions are we trying to answer?”

Dr. Pierce recently talked with mCancer Partner about how technological advances help to minimize cardiovascular risks to breast cancer patients, and gave a research update on a related study.

mCancer Partner: Who is at risk for radiation associated heart disease?

Dr. Pierce: Anyone who is receiving radiation to the chest could be at risk for radiation-associated heart disease so it is important to shield the heart from the radiation beam. Patients treated with radiation for Hodgkin’s disease in the past were potentially at risk for cardiac disease depending upon the location of the blocks used to protect the heart. Women treated for left sided breast cancer are carefully monitored and planning is done to minimize the heart from being in the radiation field as they, too, could be at risk. Continue reading