Women and Blood Clots – Do you know your risk factors?
This month, organizations across the nation will focus on Women’s Health (May 14th through May 20th is designated as Women’s Health Week 2017). Blood clots are deadly and can kill quickly. Each year approximately 100,000 people die from blood clots with 500,000-600,000 cases. Our family knows all too well how quickly blood clots can take the lives of young women. My daughter, Christina (age 30), died in January of 2015 from DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and the resulting massive pulmonary embolisms (PE). I did not know blood clots were common in young women. I will always wish I had known.
I had always believed DVT to be “an old person’s disease.” After a late-life surgery, my grandmother wore compression socks, but it was my only exposure to the possibility of blood clots forming in the deep veins of the legs. When my daughter, Christina, complained about calf pain after breaking her foot, I had absolutely no human experience that would have put deep vein thrombosis on my radar. Her symptoms were dismissed as an anxiety attack/soreness due to a medical walking boot; she died within 60 minutes. If we can save even one life with education and information, we must.
Those who are at higher risk for DVT and PE include (but are not limited to):
- Women on hormonal birth control (any kind)
- Women after C-Section or pregnancy
- Those who are bedridden
- Those who are traveling without the ability to move frequently
- Anyone having recent surgery or trauma
- Those with chronic heart disease
- Cancer patients
- People with high blood pressure
- Those who are paralyzed
- People who have suffered a stroke
- Those who are overweight or obese
- Anyone who smokes
Signs and Symptoms of PE can include (but not limited to):
- Anxiety or feelings of dread
- Shortness of breath
- Very rapid and/or unusual breathing (gasping or strange breathing noises)
- Profuse sweating
- Light-headedness and/or fainting
- Chest and/or back pain, coughing
- Coughing up blood
- Irregular heartbeat
- Rapid heartbeat
Christina experienced many of the symptoms above, except coughing up blood. PE’s need immediate medical attention. Please advocate for yourself or another family member as the medical community misses and often dismisses warning signs.
I’ve followed a group of pulmonary embolism survivors for two years. The advice and support shared by survivors of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms is often more relevant, on a day-to-day-basis, than the support and advice received from the medical community. These courageous men and women understand what many do not about PE’s. The stories shared are often all too familiar, but with a glorious ending of survival. I pray, with education and sharing, more will have the chance denied to my own daughter.
For more information about DVT’s, Blood Clots, and Pulmonary Embolisms, please visit:
Our own story of death due to blood clots is a tragic one and is shared in my book, Forever Namaste. Child loss due to blood clots is a horrific journey. I wish no parent had to travel the heartbreaking path. Please share to provide resources so another woman can live. If you know of another family dealing with the loss of a precious child of any age, please share my book for future hope and joy in the after-death part of a bereaved parent’s life.