Only five per cent of Indians are aware of thrombosis — formation of blood clots in the vein — which affects roughly one in 1,000 people in the country, an expert said here on Thursday.
Thrombosis is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide but, sadly, not many people know of its fatality, said critical care expert Rajat Chowdhury ahead of World Thrombosis Day on October 13.
“Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) affects almost one in 1,000 people in India … people’s awareness of thrombosis is as low as a dismal 5 per cent,” said Chowdhury, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Head of Intensive Care Unit in IPGMER and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata.
Chowdhury said that in pregnant women the number of affected is “almost seven in 1,000” in the Caesarean section, as they are “more prone” to venous blood clot.
Referring to official statistical analysis, he said, more than 10 million people globally are affected by VTE, an acute kind of thrombosis in which a blood clot in the limbs breaks free from a vein wall and travels to the lungs and stops some or all of the blood supply.
Worldwide, one in every four persons dies of thrombosis-related illness. In the US, there are almost one lakh to three lakh VTE-related deaths every year whereas, in Europe, the number of VTE-related casualty is a staggering five lakh a year.
According to ‘The World Thrombosis Day’ committee, this number is “higher than the number of deaths caused by AIDS, breast cancer and motor vehicle accidents”.
In India too, thrombosis-related complications are on the rise and a three- to four-fold increase in VTE-related illness has been witnessed in the last 10 years.
“Earlier, people had a notion of keeping hospitalised patients under bed rest, but immobility for a long time increases the chance of thrombosis,” Chowdhury explained.
As VTE symptoms are silent and diagnosed late, Chowdhury advocated preventive strategies.
He said people above 35 years of age should undergo annual check-ups and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
As for hospitalised people, mechanical compression, like graduated compression stockings (GCS), can be used to prevent deep vein thrombosis, he added.