In the midst of the Iraqi war, an American died, but not in battle. You remember, NBC reporter David Bloom suddenly collapsed from DVT, deep vein thrombosis, a condition which is getting a lot of attention now on Capitol Hill. Legislators have designated March, deep vein thrombosis awareness month. So, Bloom's widow, Melanie, is right up front, trying to get the word out that this kind of death can be prevented.
"David was only 39, an avid tennis player and in great health. It seemed reasonable that his legs would feel cramped, given the miserable conditions they were all enduring. We didn't think for one moment there was reason to be concerned. I wish I had the knowledge then that I have now," says Melanie.
Deep vein thrombosis is caused by blood clots, usually formed in the legs. If the clots break free, they can block a major blood vessel and cause organ damage or death. Some 2 million Americans each year will die after a blood clot breaks loose like that. The greatest risk factor is being immobile for long periods of time either from an illness that keeps you in bed or from long distance travel that keeps you in the sitting position for hours at a time.
Obesity, pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, advanced age, certain heart or respiratory diseases can also put you at risk. The symptoms include a nagging pain, swelling, tenderness, discoloration or redness of the affected area, and skin that is warm to the touch. This is again usually in the lower limbs.
If you think you might be suffering from DVT, you should see a doctor immediately. For more information click here.