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Congressional bill seeks to address blood clots


A silent killer of Blacks

Contracting a blood clot is somewhat akin to being followed by an assassin: It’s a silent killer.  Blood clot victims have been on the rise lately, claiming the lives of 100,000 Americans yearly. With every minute someone is diagnosed with a clot, someone in America succumbs to this “silent killer”. 

A blood clot is a clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to a gel-like or semisolid state. Blood clotting is a normal, complex process that prevents excessive bleeding when a blood vessel is injured. Clots can occur in arteries and veins, but their causes and effects are different. Their treatments are also different. Arterial clots include stroke and heart attack. Venous clots include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), cerebral vein thrombosis (CVT), and portal vein thrombosis (PVT).

Less than 10% of Americans can identify signs and symptoms of a blood clot. Blood clots can mimic other health conditions, and they can happen to individuals who have do not have the known risk factors leaving the patient deemed as “unprovoked”.

The factors that make blood clots less likely to be detected have caused many Black people to die, as the health disparities they experience make them more susceptible to the disorder. Black people are at higher risk for DVT than people of other races. Black people have 30% to 60% higher rates of DVT than white people.

The reason why Black people frequently contract the disorder commonly compared to other ethnic groups is because of several factors like family history/genetics, as you are more likely to have it if a family member possessed it. Black populations have higher rates of one genetic trait called hemoglobin S, or the sickle cell trait. Up to 8% of Black people may have this genetic sickle cell trait. People with sickle cell disease often show signs of overactive blood clotting, and they’re also at higher risk of pregnancy-associated blood clots.

Chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, Obesity, and Lupus, could hide or alter the change of procedure when dealing with these ailments. This can cause doctors to miss the blood clots or misdiagnose the patient. Some of the symptoms people may display while DVT develops are chronic pain, swelling, discoloration (bluish, purplish, or reddish skin color), and higher body temperatures. For people dealing with PE, their symptoms are shortness of breath, chest pain (which may be worse with deep breath), unexplained cough (which may cough blood), and unexplained rapid heart rate.

As March approaches, the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) wants to spread awareness of the disorder as March is Blood Clot Awareness Month. The spread of knowledge could save up to 70% of blood clot victims, as the CDC reports that most cases are preventable and treatable if diagnosed early. The goal of the organization is to introduce the Charles Rochester Blood Clot Prevention and Treatment Act. The first-ever proposed federal bill addressing this public health crisis. This bill will provide funding and access to better resources for people dealing with blood clots.