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For Immediate Release — March 3, 2006

Vascular Disease Foundation Recognizes March as

Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month

Lakewood, COThe Vascular Disease Foundation (VDF) today announced its support of Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month as officially recognized by United States Senate Resolution 56. By raising awareness of the condition and its potentially fatal complication, pulmonary embolism (PE), VDF hopes to save thousands of lives.

Estimates for the annual occurrence of DVT range from over 250,000 up to two million Americans, and up to 650,000 annual occurrences of PE. Of those who develop PE, up to 200,000 will die each year—more than from breast cancer and AIDS combined. Yet, a national survey sponsored by the American Public Health Association found that most Americans (74 percent) are unaware of DVT.

“VDF is a national organization focused on increasing awareness of the risk factors, signs and symptoms of DVT and PE, as well as other vascular diseases,” said Sheryl Benjamin, executive director. “DVT Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity for the public as well as the healthcare community to learn about this preventable and often silent killer—and pairing increased awareness of the risk factors with appropriate preventative measures can reduce the incidence of this condition.” VDF is involved in many activities to encourage DVT awareness during March. 

VDF is a member of the Coalition to Prevent DVT, which has spearheaded DVT Awareness Month efforts since its launch in March 2003, reaching more than 750 million people to date.  Melanie Bloom, widow of NBC correspondent David Bloom, serves as the Coalition’s national patient spokesperson. She educates audiences of healthcare professionals, consumers and members of the media about DVT and advocates awareness of the risk factors and symptoms.  David Bloom was embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq when he suddenly collapsed and died from a PE in 2003. This year, Mrs. Bloom will expand her role by leading a group of patient spokespersons who have volunteered to share their own DVT experiences with the public. “On behalf of the Coalition, we encourage everyone to know their risk for DVT,” noted Mrs. Bloom. “Furthermore, we encourage healthcare professionals to be aware of all the risk factors and to treat at-risk patients because this potentially life-threatening condition is preventable.” 

VDF will feature Mrs. Bloom’s story in its newsletter, Keeping in Circulation, to publish later this month. A copy of the free publication is available by contacting VDF. Also VDF has released an article for publication through NAPSA and issued radio public service announcements.

About Deep-Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism

DVT is a medical condition that occurs when a thrombus (blood clot) forms in one of the large veins, usually in the lower limbs or pelvis, leading to either partially or completely blocked circulation. A DVT can be quite painful, but can also have no symptom. DVT symptoms may include tenderness, pain, swelling and discoloration or redness. Anyone experiencing these symptoms, especially if they fall into one of the risk categories, should immediately seek medical attention.

DVT causes include a variety of risk factors and triggering events, including cancer, prior DVT, increasing age, obesity, stroke, major surgery or respiratory failure. The condition may result in health complications, such as PE and even death if not diagnosed and treated effectively. 

With treatment the majority of DVT are not life threatening and the blood clots often gradually dissolve with treatment. However, occasionally, they can cause serious health problems. If a clot breaks free and moves through the vein, it is known as an embolus. When an embolus travels upward and lodges in an artery of the lungs, it’s called pulmonary embolism, or PE, a potentially fatal condition. PE signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, coughing up blood, and fainting. 

Risk reduction measures for DVT include early mobilization (working to get bedridden patients up and moving around), prescription stockings and sequential compression devices to promote blood flow and anticoagulants and/or blood-thinning drugs.

About DVT Awareness Month

DVT Awareness Month is being sponsored by the Coalition to Prevent DVT to raise awareness of this serious medical condition among consumers, health care professionals, and government and public health leaders. The Coalition is comprised of more than 39 representatives from nationally known medical societies, patient advocacy groups and other public health organizations. Patient advocate Melanie Bloom will take part in media interviews, a public service announcement, a video news release and speaking events during DVT Awareness Month.

About the Vascular Disease Foundation

VDF is a nonprofit, public education organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the prevention, diagnosis, and management of vascular disease. Its outstanding board of directors includes physicians, nurses, vascular technologists, rehabilitation professionals, and clinical researchers who have been on the forefront of fighting vascular diseases for many years.

For more information, call 1-866-VDF-4INFO (1-866-723-4636), click here to learn more about DVT, or visit www.preventdvt.org