Blood clots, necessary in our bodies – Haematologist

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A Haematologist, Dr Helen Okoye, says blood clotting is necessary in the body as it stops the blood from uncontrolled flowing after a cut or injury.

Okoye, who is a member of the World Thrombosis Day Steering Committee, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

According to her, it is when blood clots are created when they are not needed, that they can become life-threatening.

She said that a clot could slow or block normal blood flow, even break loose and travel to an organ, which could  cause a heart attack, stroke, or a venous thromboembolism.

These, she said are the top three cardiovascular killers.

“Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs.

“Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling but also can occur with no symptoms.

“More people succumb to the life-threatening conditions caused by thrombosis, the formation of a blood clot in blood vessels, than the total number of people who lose their lives to AIDS, breast cancer, and car crashes, combined every year.

“This disquieting fact makes it clear just how important it is to ensure that we are all aware of the risk factors that play a role in the development of blood clots.

“Especially as thrombosis is both preventable and treatable, if you know the symptoms and contact a healthcare professional immediately if need be,” she said.

Okoye said that eight factors could help identify if someone was at risk for developing blood clots.

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She identified the eight factors as getting older, gender, post-surgery recovery, smoking, patients with cancer, family history of blood clots, overweight or obese, and immobility.

The haematologist said that although any person of any age could develop a blood clot, the risk of thrombosis increases with age.

She said those over the age of 60 were at higher risk and that thrombosis could impact anyone, no matter their age, background, or gender.

NAN reports that the World Thrombosis Day campaign, led by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), had in January announced the appointment of Okoye and six other new members to its scientific Steering Committee.

The  World Thrombosis Day takes place annually on Oct. 13.

Okoye is an attending Physician and Thrombosis Specialist and also one of the few women in her field in the country.

 

(NAN)