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RISK
OF BLOOD CLOTS IN WOMEN – PATIENT EDUCATION

Blood
is the only tissue that flows throughout our body. It
carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of our body and removal of waste
products by lungs, kidneys and liver. It also plays a major role in the immune
system, carries hormonal messages, fluid and temperature balance. All matured
blood cells (red blood corpuscles, white blood corpuscles and platelets) come
from one type of precursor named as “stem cell”.

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Among hematological disorders, 100,000 deaths
annually were found to be due to blood clots. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
commonly seen in arms or leg were found to be serious blood clot, if it is not
treated the clot will burst and migrates to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
which can be life-threatening.        

Generally men were more prone to thrombosis compared
to women, but in some cases like pregnancy, birth control and postmenopausal
hormone therapy, women were found to have higher risks of developing thrombosis.
It was found to be higher in another situation like women who have previously
experienced with thrombosis and had a family history of the same.

In most of the cases it is difficult to identify the
thrombosis due to asymptomatic conditions, so it is important to know about the
risk associated with thrombosis especially in women.

In both the gender, certain factors associated with
risk of developing thrombosis like hospitalization, surgery, trauma,
immobility, smoking, obesity, old age and family history of clotting disorders.

Symptoms like pain, swelling, skin discoloration and
warmness in touch are found with thrombosis in legs and arms. In case of
thrombosis in lungs leads to chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing up
blood.

Birth control pills which contain estrogen and
progesterone found to increase the risk of thrombosis, so safer birth control
methods like barrier methods, spermicides, progestin implant, copper
intrauterine device, progestin intrauterine device, progestin only pills, tubal
ligation or vasectomy are advisable. Before planning for birth control it is
necessary to inform the doctor about your clotting risks.

General Anti – Coagulant like warfarin, dabigatran,
rivaroxaban, and apixaban during pregnancy are not safe in pregnancy. So it is
recommended to switch from oral anti coagulants to blood thinning medications like
standard or unfractioned heparin or low molecular weight heparin which are injected
under the skin which does not cross the placenta or blood stream of the fetus.

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