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11 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Blood Clots

The importance of not being idle.

1. A blood clot can happen to anyone.

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While there are factors that can increase your risk, you could be leading a perfectly healthy lifestyle and still be affected.

2. More people in Europe die from blood clots than AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and road traffic accidents combined.¹

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But would you consider them the most dangerous out of that group? Probably not.

3. Pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in the lung – is the most common avoidable cause of hospital death in the world.²


Yet every 37 seconds, someone in the Western world dies as a result of a venous thromboembolism (VTE) – a blood clot in the leg or lung.3

4. Did you know, 85% of all strokes are caused by blood clots?⁴


Also known as ischemic strokes, they occur when a blood clot either blocks the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, or occurs in another part of the body and travels to the brain.5

This can happen for a number of reasons, ranging from obesity, to high blood pressure, excessive alcohol intake or an irregular heartbeat.5

5. They cause heart attacks too.


If a blood clot forms in the arteries of the heart itself, it starves the muscles of oxygen and nutrients, leading to a heart attack.6

6. You probably will have heard of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

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This is when a blood clot develops in a deep vein, most often in the leg.7 Sitting for more than 90 minutes can reduce circulation behind the knee by 50% and increases the risk of DVT.8

7. But it's a pulmonary embolism (PE) that can prove to be rapidly fatal.⁹


If all or part of the DVT breaks off and the blood clot travels through the veins and up into the lungs, things can deteriorate very quickly.

For 25% of people who experience a PE, the first symptom is death.9

8. Four out of five people wouldn't recognise a blood clot in their lungs if they experienced one.¹ᴼ


Symptoms can be deceptively mild: chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, increased heart rate all could be easily and fatally misdiagnosed.11

9. Meanwhile, DVT can look pretty innocuous too.


Generally occurring in the calf, symptoms can include mild pain, swelling, redness, dilation of the surface veins, and increased temperature.7, 12

10. Some 10 to 30% of people affected by DVT/PE die within a month of diagnosis.¹³


Which is why it’s important to know the risk factors, signs and symptoms, which you can read more about here.

11. But you can help to reduce your risk by making time to move regularly and spreading the word.

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44% of people aren't aware that staying active is the best way to prevent blood clots from forming.10 So isn't it Time2Move?

Blood clots are a condition with no boundaries.

In fact, in the time you've been reading this page, between 3-5 people in the Western world will have died from a venous blood clot.3

But crucially, they can be prevented and if needed, treated. So join the cause and find out how you can help raise awareness at

¹ Cohen AT et al. Thromb Haemost. 2007; 98 (4):756-764 ² Geerts WH et al. Chest. 2008;133,(6 Suppl)381S-453S ³ Calculation extrapolated from the number of estimated VTE-related deaths across the EU (543,454 – see reference a) and US (300,000 – see reference b) per annum, divided by the number of seconds in a year. a) Cohen AT et al. Thromb.Haemost. 2007;98,(4)756-764, b) Roger VL et al. Circulation. 2012;125(1):e2-e220 ⁴ Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party. National clinical guideline for stroke, 4th edition. London: Royal College of Physicians 2012 P4 ⁵ NHS Choices. Stroke – Causes. July 2015. ⁶ American Heart Association. About Heart Attacks. July 2015. ⁷ Patient UK. Deep vein thrombosis. June 2015.⁸ Thrombosis UK: The Thrombosis Charity. Reducing the risk of e-thrombosis. February 2013 ⁹ Kearon C. Circulation. 2003;107,(23 Suppl 1)I22-I30 ¹⁰ ICM interviewed a random sample of 20,258 adults ages 18-64 in twenty countries across the world through online interviewing between 17th July – 11th August 2014. Surveys were conducted across each country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at ¹¹ NHS Choices. Pulmonary Embolism – Symptoms. July 2015. ¹² Turpie AGG et al. BMJ. 2002; 325: 887-890. ¹³ CDC. Venous Thromboembolism (Blood Clots). Data & Statistics. June 2015.