World Thrombosis Day 2016 – Find out about the signs, symptoms and causes of thrombosis


1 in 4 deaths worldwide from conditions caused by thrombosis

It is estimated that every 6 seconds a person dies from VTE globally

In England alone, 25,000 people die each year from venous thromboembolism (VTE) contracted in hospital

Thrombosis is often the underlying cause of heart attack, thromboembolic stroke and VTE, the top three cardiovascular killers

World Thrombosis Day aims to increase global awareness of the often overlooked and misunderstood condition of thrombosis

Many people know about the risks for breast cancer or heart disease, but most aren’t aware that 1 in 4 people worldwide die from conditions caused by thrombosis, more commonly known as blood clots.

Many, if not most, cases of thrombosis are preventable, and yet too many patients slip through the cracks. Approximately 60 percent of VTE cases happen to patients during or after being hospitalised or undergoing surgery. In the UK alone, up to 1 in every 1,000 are affected by venous thrombosis. This figure is higher than the combined total deaths of breast cancer, AIDS and traffic accidents, and costs the NHS an estimated £640 million annually.

Thrombosis is common, but general awareness about the condition is very low. In a 2014 global survey of nine countries conducted by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), only 68 percent of those surveyed were aware of blood clots, much lower than awareness of other potentially life-threatening health conditions such as hypertension.

Although thrombosis can affect anyone, those who are age 60 or older are at a higher risk, as are individuals undergoing surgery or cancer treatment, people who undergo long periods of immobility and women who are pregnant. That’s why it is so important for people to understand the risks factors, be able to recognise the signs & symptoms, and ask their doctors for a VTE risk assessment if they are hospitalised.

Because 1 in 4 people worldwide are dying from conditions caused by thrombosis, it will therefore be impossible to reach the World Health Assembly’s global target of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable disease by 25% by 2025 unless we address thrombosis.

This year, more than 550 medical and health organisations from every continent will participate in World Thrombosis Day, embracing thousands of educational events and bringing together in partnership patients, healthcare professionals, policy makers, research and industry supporters to place a global spotlight on thrombosis as an urgent and growing public health problem.

Thrombosis is the formation of potentially deadly blood clots. Blood clots can form in the artery (arterial thrombosis) or vein (venous thrombosis).

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is when blood clots in a deep vein (most often the leg)

Pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a blood clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs

Collectively, DVT and PE are known venous thromboembolism – VTE.

World Thrombosis Day (WTD) focuses attention on the often overlooked and misunderstood condition of thrombosis. It embraces thousands of educational events across the world, and brings together in partnership patients, healthcare professionals, policy makers, research and industry supporters to place a global spotlight on thrombosis as an urgent and growing public health problem

World Thrombosis Day 2016
World Thrombosis Day 2016

5 great ways to lower cholesterol naturally!

5 great ways to lower cholesterol naturally!
5 great ways to lower cholesterol naturally!

High cholesterol is the bane of the developed world.  In the modern world we have more, better and much easier to prepare food than in previous centuries. But, this also means,  far too many of us now have the opportunity to overindulge.  (I’ll put my hands up here and say I’m one of those guilty of what I have to call greed).   The problem with this kind of eating is that it does have the tendency to raise our cholesterol levels.

According to the NHS evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol can increase the risk of:

narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis)

heart attack


transient ischaemic attack (TIA) – often known as a “mini stroke”

peripheral arterial disease (PAD)

So I think we can all agree that we need a few ideas of reducing our cholesterol levels.

So I thought I would share the following five tips which you can use to help reduce your cholesterol with our recourse to medication.

a) Yes indeed I know healthcare professionals sound like a broken record on the subject of drink.  But it is important to cut down (if you do drink) to cut a glass or two a day.  Oh and make sure that you have a few drink free days each week including weekends.

b) Smoking tobacco. If you still smoke please please do give up.  Please check out a previous blog post with a few tips to help you quit.

c) Now I know that many pixels have died in the cause of lecturing us about taking more exercise.  But it also has numerous other benefits as this article shows!

d) Chronic stress can impact on your cholesterol levels.  To have a look at these great ideas for reducing stress in your life.

e) Foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols. Foods which contain sterols and stanols include corn, coconut, olive and sunflower oils, beans, corn, peanut butter, almonds, oranges, apples, and avocados.  A great way of getting down your cholesterol.


If you do have any concerns about your cholesterol levels please do speak with a medical professional as they are best able to advise on your best course of action!

And if you do have any other tips for reducing cholesterol please do share them in the comment section at the bottom of this blog post.

Air embolism – what are the signs and symptoms of the bends

Air embulism and the bends
Air embolism and the bends


An air or gas embolism is a bubble that becomes trapped in a blood vessel and blocks it. This can lead to many different symptoms depending on where the blockage occurs. It’s one of the leading causes of death among divers.

An air or gas embolism can happen when a scuba diver surfaces too quickly from any depth. This can cause air to escape into the blood vessels from the lungs (pulmonary barotrauma) or bubbles of nitrogen to form in the blood vessels (decompression illness, or “the bends”).

An embolism can develop in an artery or vein. When an air bubble travels along an artery, it moves through a system of blood vessels that gradually become narrower. At some point, the bubble may block a small artery and cut off the blood supply to a particular area of the body.

Bubbles in the veins travel around the body and can cause breathing difficulties when they reach the lungs.

How serious is it?

The seriousness of the blockage depends on which part of the body the affected blood vessel supplies blood to and the size of the air bubble. For example, an air embolism in:

  • the arteries to the brain can cause immediate loss of consciousness and may lead to seizures (fits) or a stroke – it can also cause confusion, dizziness and slurred speech
  • the coronary arteries (which lead to the heart) may cause a heart attack or an abnormal heart rhythm
  • a blood vessel to the lungs may cause a pulmonary embolism

These conditions are very serious and can be fatal, particularly if an air embolism is not recognised and treated promptly.

Even with treatment, some people who survive are left with permanent brain damage, although this is very rare.

Warning signs

Divers should always be carefully monitored by their colleagues and supervisors so any air or gas embolism can be immediately identified and treated.

Signs and symptoms of an air embolism can include:

  • joint or muscle pains
  • low blood pressure, which may cause dizziness
  • an irregular heartbeat
  • breathlessness and fast breathing
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • strong feelings of anxiety and itching of the skin
  • a faint blue tone to the skin (cyanosis)
  • bloody froth from the mouth
  • paralysis or weakness, possibly of one or more limbs
  • seizures (fits)
  • loss of consciousness

If a scuba diver develops these symptoms within 10 to 20 minutes of surfacing, they probably have an air embolism and should be given 100% oxygen and transferred to hospital as soon as possible, preferably one with a recompression chamber.

Treating air embolisms

If a diver develops an air embolism, the only effective treatment is immediate recompression treatment in a special pressurised room called a hyperbaric chamber.

The diver should be given 100% oxygen and laid horizontally until they reach the hyperbaric chamber.

Recompression treatment involves lying in a hyperbaric chamber, usually for several hours, and breathing a mixture of gases and oxygen under pressure. The high pressure can restore normal blood flow and oxygen to the body’s tissues and reduce the size of the air bubbles in the body.

In cases of decompression sickness, the pressure forces the bubbles of nitrogen to dissolve back into the bloodstream.

After recompression, pressure is reduced gradually to allow the gases to leave the body without worsening the problem, similar to surfacing slowly from a dive. Treatment might be continued for several days depending on the severity of symptoms.

Preventing an air embolism while diving

The following advice can help reduce your risk of developing an air or gas embolism when diving.

  • Limit the depth and duration of your dives.
  • Come up to the surface slowly and always perform safety stops to allow any air in your tissues and blood vessels to escape safely. Use a dive computer or dive tables, and don’t dive again if you have broken these rules until you have had a suitable time at the surface.
  • Don’t dive with a cold, cough or chest infection.
  • Avoid rigorous exercise before, during and after a dive.
  • Make sure you’re well hydrated before diving.
  • If planning several dives, leave adequate surface intervals between dives to allow the nitrogen to leave your body.
  • After diving, wait for 24 hours before flying or going to a higher altitude.

If in doubt, contact a dive professional or doctor, who can provide further advice.

Other causes of air embolisms

Air embolisms also occur during surgery or other medical procedures, but this is rare.

In hospitals and health centres, care should be taken to prevent this. For example:

  • before injections, air should be removed from syringes and intravenous lines
  • catheters or other tubes inserted into the body should be inserted and removed using a technique that minimises the possibility of air getting into the blood vessels
  • patients should be closely monitored to help ensure air bubbles don’t form in blood vessels during surgery

Air embolisms resulting from surgery, anaesthesia or other medical procedures can be difficult to treat. Treatment is usually needed to support the heart, blood vessels and lungs.

For example, fluids may be used to treat a fall in blood pressure and oxygen may be given to reduce levels of other gases in the blood vessels

7 signs of heart problems

Most of us know that a tightening sensation in the chest accompanied by pain down the arms can be a tell-tale sign of a heart attack, and that action should be taken immediately. Fewer of us are aware, however, of earlier signs and symptoms that can alert us to heart problems before they get out of hand.

Dr Gigi Taguri has prepared a simple guide to the warning signs to look out for – and what to do about them (short version: see your doctor!). For example, did you know that swollen feet can indicate a back-up of blood due to under-efficiency of the heart? Likewise, memory loss or the sudden onset of dizziness for no apparent reason can be connected with impaired blood flow to the brain. And erectile dysfunction may seem an embarrassing issue that you would rather keep to yourself in the hope that things will get better – but it is often a symptom of deeper issues, and can be one of the first signs of a heart problem.

These are just some of the symptoms to be aware of, and they may well be indicative of a completely different issue – but regardless, as Dr Taguri advises, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible and get the treatment you need to prevent the problem escalating.

Hidden Signs of heart problems
Hidden Signs of heart problems from 


Working together to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes

Working together to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes. 1 of every 3 deaths is caused by heart disease and stroke. Health care costs for heart attack and stroke: $312.6 billion. Leading cause of preventable death in people 40–65 years of age. 2 million plus heart attacks and strokes each year. To prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes, health care professionals and public health workers should do what we know works: Focus on the ABCS: Aspirin when appropriate; Blood pressure control; Cholesterol management; Smoking cessation. Use health IT: Use electronic health records and other health IT to identify patients who need support to improve their ABCS and then track their progress over time. Use team-based care: Use clinical innovations, including: Use everyone who interacts with patients to the top of their skills and license; Self-measured blood pressure monitoring with clinical support; Reward and recognize excellence in the ABCS. By doing what we know works, health care professionals, health care systems, and public health organizations can help prevent 1,000,000 heart attacks and strokes and meet these goals by 2017: 47 percent to 70 percent increase in aspirin use for secondary prevention; 46 percent to 70 percent increase in blood pressure control; 33 percent to 70 percent increase in cholesterol management; 23 percent to 70 percent increase in help for those who want to quit smoking; 20 percent reduction in sodium consumption; 50 percent reduction in trans-fat consumption. For more information on effectiveness of team-based care, visit:,, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.