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Health and Medicine for Seniors

Thromboembolism is Target of New Campaign by Alliance for Aging Research

Educational effort supplies brochures, video, online quiz to help spread word on dangers of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism

venouis thromboembolism, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolismJan. 13, 2015 – The nonprofit Alliance for Aging Research has launched a new campaign to raise awareness about venous thromboembolism (VTE), the third most common cardiovascular illness, and its associated conditions deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). VTE affects more than 600,000 Americans, mostly senior citizens.

Centered on the concept of Living with VTE, the campaign offers easy-to-understand resources to educate about deep vein blood clots and the serious complications that can result from them. These resources highlight risk factors, symptoms, and medical options and empower people at risk with VTE to seek treatment so they can control, manage, and live with their condition.

"VTE can be deadly without treatment. This is especially true when a deep vein clot breaks off and blocks an artery in the lungs, forming a PE," says Lindsay Clarke, vice president of health programs for the Alliance.

"We chose to focus our campaign on Living with VTE because it can be managed and lived with when people are informed about its risk factors and symptoms. We encourage both health care professionals and consumers to access our free resources and spread the word that life with VTE is possible."

Resources from the campaign include:

   ● An animated "pocket film" entitled Living with VTE and Preventing Deadly Blood Clots that offers a quick and accessible overview of causes, symptoms, and treatments in a unique format. A Spanish version is also available.

   ● A brochure called Living with VTE that shares in-depth information about VTE, DVT, and PE and guidance on making treatment decisions.

   ● An online quiz that tests a person's knowledge of VTE.

The Alliance is also sharing information on Twitter at @aging_research using hashtag #LivingwithVTE.

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   ● Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common cardiovascular condition that involves complications with blood clots in the deep veins. It includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).

   ● Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops in a deep vein in the body—usually within the muscles. The most common place for a DVT to develop is in the veins of the legs or pelvis, but it can also generate in the arms, brain, or intestines. Symptoms include: swelling, pain or tenderness, warmth in the swollen area, and/or red or discolored skin.

   ● Pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when blood clots in the deep veins (DVT) break free, travel through the circulatory system to the lungs, and lodge in a main artery or arteries, blocking blood flow. This blockage can cause high blood pressure in the lungs. As a result, the heart pumps harder than usual, and may enlarge and eventually fail from being overworked. Symptoms include: unexplained shortness of breath, pain in the chest, back, or side that is made worse with deep breathing or coughing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood, and/or rapid heartbeat.

Facts and Figures

   ● VTE affects as many as 600,000 Americans and is the third most common cardiovascular illness.

   ● Four in 10 DVT clots will develop into a PE.

   ● One in two cases of VTE occur during or soon after a person’s discharge from a hospital.

   ● Those 85 and over are 15 times more likely to have a VTE event than those ages 45-54.

   ● One in 10 people with an untreated PE will die within 30 days.

   ● Prompt treatment can save lives and includes breaking up the clot through catheter-directed thrombolysis or “clot-busting” medication or preventing the growth of the clot through medication. 

Educational Materials

   ● Living with Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) brochure. An easy-to-read resource explaining VTE, DVT, and PE in detail. 

   ● Living with VTE Quiz. An online quiz to test one’s knowledge of VTE (will include link)

   ● Living with VTE and Preventing Deadly Blood Clots:  A short film that explores the risk factors, causes, symptoms, and treatment options for VTE. 

   ● YouTube Video

About the Alliance for Aging Research

The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application in order to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C., and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers. Visit www.agingresearch.org for more information.

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