Awareness is critical, but less than 50 per cent of Canadians know about thrombosis (or blood clots), which are the three leading killers of cardiovascular disease: heart attack, stroke and venous thromboembolism (VTE). Even more concerning is the fact that only one in five Canadians are concerned about the health effects of blood clots.
This lack of awareness is the impetus behind Thrombosis Canada’s C-L-O-T-S awareness campaign, which helps people recognize whether they have a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism, or PE) or in the legs (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT).
The C-L-O-T-S campaign is based on an acronym for the most common and easy-to-understand warning signs of blood clots.
• Chest pain
• Light headed
• Out of breath
• Tenderness in the legs
• Swelling of the feet
“As medical professionals, we saw a need to provide tools to increase public awareness of thrombosis,” said Dr. Deborah Siegal, assistant professor of hematology and thromboembolism at McMaster University in Hamilton.
VTE, or venous blood clots, is a major public health problem, affecting 100,000 Canadians and causing 10,000 deaths each year. Each year, VTE causes more deaths in Canada than breast cancer, HIV, or motor vehicle accidents.
“By highlighting key warning signs as part of the C-L-O-T-S campaign, we hope Canadians will recognize these symptoms on their own and seek immediate medical attention,” said Dr. Segal. “If you start experiencing any of the warning signs, especially if there are multiple symptoms, don’t ignore them. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can be treated,” he said.
KNOWTHROMBOSIS is a campaign to celebrate World Thrombosis Month (October) and educate people about the risk factors and warning signs of blood clots. For more information visit thrombosiscanada.ca or @ThrombosisCan.
Thrombosis Canada acknowledges Bayer Canada, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada/Pfizer Canada Alliance, Pfizer Canada, LEO Pharma Inc. and Sanofi Canada for their generous support of awareness and education initiatives during World Thrombosis Month.