Thrombosis In Women – The Risk Factors

According to MedicineNet, “Thrombosis is the formation or presence of a blood clot in a blood vessel, i.e. any vein or artery. The clot itself is referred to as thrombus. It is called a thromboembolism if the clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream.” The origin of the word is from the Greek word θρόμβωσις (thrombus) which means a lump/clump a curd/clot of milk. Many women today suffer from this disease, and many are not even aware that they even have it.

Thrombosis can be caused by any of the following:

– Hypercoagulability: Also known as thrombophilia, it is caused by genetic deficiencies or autoimmune disorders. Treatments for cancer (radiation, chemotherapy) often cause additional hypercoagulability.

– Endothelial cell injury: Injury to the blood vessel’s wall are caused by surgery, trauma, infection, or turbulent flow at bifurcations (the point at which division into two branches occurs, e.g. Carotid bifurcation is the site of division of the common carotid artery into the external and internal carotid arteries).

– Disturbed blood flow: Disturbed blood flow is caused by:
• stagnation of blood flow past the point of injury
• venous stasis which may occur in heart failure
• in or after long periods of sedentary behavior like sitting on a long airplane flight

The main groups that are risk of getting thrombosis are:

• Smokers over the age of 35 years
• Diabetics
• Those with a family history of thromboembolism
• Those who have high blood pressure (hypertensive) or vascular diseases
• Pregnant women (tend to develop thromboembolism)

To give you a better understanding of how many women are suffering from thrombosis, or more particularly thromboembolism, think of a soccer stadium with 10,000 women. If all of them are pregnant, about 30 would suffer from it. If they all used pills with Ethinylestradiol for at least 3 months, 9 of them would be sufferers. If none of the women were pregnant and did not use pills containing Ethinylestradiol, then only 5 of them would be suffering from thromboembolism. What is also interesting to note is that thrombosis, despite being a serious complication, is quite rare.

The majority of women who take pills containing Ethinylestradiol say that the benefits of using combined hormonal contraceptives far exceed the risks. This is so because the risk for venous thromboembolism in those who use combined oral contraceptives is very low. However, doctors have to be careful when prescribing such pills to those who fall into the risk groups mentioned earlier. If you are a woman who wants to use oral contraceptives and you do not fall into the groups at risk, then it will be safe to use them.

In you fall into any of the risk groups, monitor your health with vigilance. Look out for signs that may indicate thrombosis. Many women who have suffered from thrombosis say that they felt a pain in their feet and the area felt tough and swollen. The constraint of the blood’s movement by the clot was the cause and they had to rush to the doctor immediately. Keep in mind that the clot is not going to stay where it is forever.

As mentioned earlier, it can get loose and start traveling through the bloodstream, which can take it to the heart and lead to a cardiac arrest. You will need blood thinners to get rid of the clot, so immediate medical attention must be sought. I know people who have had it and are alive today because they got medical attention quickly. Don’t risk being an unlucky statistic – look out signs of thrombosis and get it treated right away if any of them become manifest.

If you would like more information on thrombosis, get “100 Questions & Answers About Deep Vein Thrombosis And Pulmonary Embolism.”