This condition causes more deaths each year than AIDS and breast cancer combined.
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Sherri Dmyterko: Do you know what causes more deaths each year in Canada than Aids and breast cancer combined? Male Speaker: I would say heart disease. Male Speaker: I think cancers are biggest killer. Sherri Dmyterko: Would you be surprised to learn that it's Deep Vein Thrombosis? Male Speaker: You are kidding, I never would have guessed that. Sherri Dmyterko: Every year in Canada about 200,000 develop Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT. A blood clot that forms in one of the large veins of the upper or lower body. Recent evidence from Canadian hospitals indicates that only 23% of hospitalized patients at risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism received preventative treatment. That means nearly eight out of ten at risk patients in hospital are not receiving proper treatment. Doctor Agnes Lee as a physician in the Thrombosis clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences Henderson hospital. Dr. Agnes Lee: Deep Vein Thrombosis is a condition where blood clot forms in the deep veins of the body and this usually happens in the legs. Sometimes those clots will grow and break off and that will travel in the blood streams and go directly to the heart and lungs and when that happens, the patient develops a condition call Pulmonary Embolism. Sherri Dmyterko: DVT can be treated or prevented using anti-thrombotic medication such as low-molecular-weight heparins or Vitamin K Antagonists. But understanding your risk is vitally important for proper management of this condition. Dr. Agnes Lee: There are multiple risk factors for thrombosis or Deep Vein Thrombosis. The strongest ones are major surgery especially for orthopedic joint replacement, cancer, surgery after major trauma. There are other risk factors too such as patient's on hormone replacement therapy and also patients who are not very mobile. The most common symptoms for deep vein thrombosis are leg swelling especially one leg over the other. Pain in the leg, infrequently patients who will notice redness to the leg or increased warmth. Sherri Dmyterko: Diana Clark knows first hand the seriousness of DVT after she developed a blood clot in her calf. Diana Clark: Near the end when I -- just before I came into the Emerge, is when I started feeling it going up my leg that particular day and the entire leg was starting to swell and the respiratory by that time, I basically was not -- hardly breathing and when I got here I was almost dead basically. So it was a frightening experience when that all took place. You never think that something like this can happen to you. You know when you are really sick. Seek medical attention right away because it could save your life. Sherri Dmyterko: For more information about deep vein thrombosis the signs and symptoms speak with your doctor. Sherri Dmyterko reporting.