Bangkok, 15 September 2022. It is advisable that everyone cares about having regular medical check-ups and understanding their body conditions, because adjusting lifestyle choices accordingly and early enough could prevent many disorders and diseases. Designated World Thrombosis Day (WTD), 13 October every year is when the “Eyes Open to Thrombosis” campaign goes out all over the world to build awareness of thrombosis. Each year, the deaths of 1 in 4 people worldwide are attributable to thrombosis brought about by several factors including hospitalization, cancer, infection, COVID-19, and other physical conditions. More information can be found on www.worldthrombosisday.org
Prof. Pantep Angchaisuksiri, M.D., steering committee member for the World Thrombosis Day Campaign, from the Division of Haematology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, said that the spread of diseases transmitted by emerging and re-emerging pathogens, including COVID-19, is on the rise and could require treatment of internal body systems, particularly those affected by the formation of ‘thrombi’—blood clots—that obstruct blood circulation in blood vessels and lead to ‘thrombosis’. In particular, thrombi formed in veins could lead to venous thromboembolism (VTE). The International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) reported that the deaths of one in four people worldwide, or approximately 100,000 deaths each year, were attributable to thrombosis. Such annual mortality rate is more than that of AIDS, breast cancer, and car accidents combined.
Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot that clogs a blood vessel due to abnormality of blood coagulation or the vessel walls. The condition may occur in arteries or veins. A clot that breaks off and travels through the circulation is harmful to the body and a cause of many illnesses.
As to thrombosis in Thailand, according to the data on pulmonary embolism collected by the Ministry of Public Health, over the past seven years Thailand has seen about 12,900–26,800 patients per year, amounting to a morbidity rate of 200–400 patients per million capita.
Thrombosis Risk Factors
Prof. Pantep added that major risk factors for thrombosis can be divided into four classes as follows.
Thrombosis risk factors from hospitalization: Hospitalization and postoperative vascular injury account for over 60 percent of thrombosis patients. Prolonged hospital stays for recovery reduce their movement, often leading to thrombosis. Over the course of bed rest, physicians will take into account the patient’s risk of thrombosis and prevent or treat it accordingly by administering antithrombotics or mechanical thromboprophylaxis.
Thrombosis risk factors from cancer: Cancer patients are four times more predisposed to thrombosis compared to healthy people. Their risk of thrombosis depends on the cancer type, stage, duration of treatment, and regimen, as well as how much they move.
Thrombosis risk factors from COVID-19: COVID-19 patients requiring critical care are more prone to thrombosis compared to healthy people, due to so-called ‘sticky blood’ and prolonged hospitalization for recovery. COVID-19 patients in home isolation are advised to move regularly as a preventive measure. On a related note, COVID-19 vaccines have been proven not to be associated with thrombosis.
Thrombosis risk factors from other physical conditions: Those with family members with a history of thrombosis are more at risk. Women aged 20–40 years are more at risk than men of the same age bracket, due to the use of oral contraceptives and pregnancy. Elderly men and women aged over 60 years are equally at risk. Overweight men and women are likewise. In all cases, personal behaviours are also relevant. If pain, redness, or tenderness is found on the thigh or calf, a doctor’s visit is advisable to check for deep vein thrombosis.
Reduce the risk
To best reduce the risk of thrombosis, disease prevention is key. Everyone can easily observe the following three practices.
Risk-reducing behavioural changes: At the core of thrombosis risk reduction are behavioural changes in daily life and at work. Risk-increasing habits should be avoided, such as smoking, drinking, and sitting at work, while driving the car, or on the plane without changing the posture at all for more than four to six hours.
Moving and exercising: Thrombosis risk reduction is best and most easily done with muscle movements and regular exercises, as they improve blood circulation. Simply getting up and walking around, doing ankle circles, lifting the knees up, and rotating the neck and shoulders are some of the easy exercises anyone can do at home.
Assessing thrombosis risk: A doctor’s visit for thrombosis risk assessment, and proper intervention if necessary, is recommended for those at risk or having symptoms indicative of risk, such as those with blood disorders, heart disease, or any family member with a history of thrombosis. Proactive diagnosis helps with preparing for severe conditions in a timely manner.
“Thrombosis is preventable with understanding and awareness. ISTH therefore established World Thrombosis Day, or WTD, to be held annually on 13 October, and runs the ‘Eyes Open to Thrombosis’ campaign to raise awareness of thrombosis as well as its symptoms, prevention, and treatment, in an effort to reduce thrombosis risk worldwide,” added Prof. Pantep.
Find out more at www.worldthrombosisday.org ‘World Thrombosis Day’ on Facebook, and @thrombosisday on Twitter.
About World Thrombosis Day (WTD)
Launched in 2014 and held annually on 13 October, World Thrombosis Day aims to increase public, healthcare professional and health care systems’ awareness of thrombosis and, ultimately, reduce unnecessary deaths and disabilities from thromboembolic disease through a greater awareness of its causes, risk factors, signs and symptoms, and evidence-based prevention and treatment. The mission of World Thrombosis Day supports the World Health Assembly’s global target of reducing premature deaths by non-communicable disease by 25 percent by 2025, as well as the World Health Organization’s Thirteenth General Programme of Work 2019–2023, the Montevideo Roadmap 2018-2030 on NCDs and the Political Declaration of UNGA’ Third High-level Meeting on NCDs. Visit www.worldthrombosisday.org for more information and to get involved.
About the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis (ISTH)
Founded in 1969, the ISTH is the leading worldwide not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of thrombotic and bleeding disorders. ISTH is an international professional membership organization with more than 7,500 clinicians, researchers, and educators working together to improve the lives of patients in more than 110 countries around the world. Among its highly regarded activities and initiatives are education and standardization programs, research activities, meetings and congresses, peer-reviewed publications, expert committees, and World Thrombosis Day on 13 October. Visit ISTH online at www.isth.org.