When I heard about the death of Michael Johns yesterday, I couldn’t believe it. At only 35 years old, he passed away on Friday, August 1 due to a blood clot originating in his ankle, according to The Hollywood Reporter. For those who don’t know who is Michael Johns, the Australian-born finalist came in eighth place on season 7 of FOX singing competition American Idol in 2008.
Why I decided to write about this
Even though it happened over a month ago, I only heard the news yesterday, and it really stunned me. To heard that someone died so soon is very troubling, especially by something that could have been avoided if caught in time, and that’s why I decided to write an article about this condition. In fact, blood clots can happen to anyone, even if you are young and apparently healthy.
What is a blood clot and how that can happen
A blood clot, also called thrombus, can form in a large vein of the lower members and block the circulation; this condition is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Because the tissues can’t drain properly, the excess fluid accumulates, and some symptoms occur like swelling, warmth, redness and pain in the affected area. This more likely to happen if someone:
- is sitting for a long period of time, for example at work while driving or flying
- is taking hormonal replacement therapy or birth control
- is pregnant
- is obese or overweight
- has a history of DVT or PE
- suffers from heart disease
- suffers from inflammatory bowel disease
- has cancer
- is on an extended bed rest in a hospital or at home like after a hip operation
- is smoking
- is over 60 years old
- is a female
- is tall
The dangers of blood clots
But sometimes the blood clot travels up through the bloodstream and will block the vessel that will prevent blood flow and oxygen to the lungs, heart, and brain. A blood clot in the lungs can cause another condition called pulmonary embolism (PE), one to the heart can cause a heart attack and one to the brain can result in an ischemic stroke. All those three afflictions can be fatal or alter a person’s life considerably.
A blood clot can do horrible damages, but can be treated or prevented with the help of some medication. Doctors often prescribe Coumadin (Warfarin), an anticoagulant (blood thinner) that can help treat and/or prevent blood clots.
In case of emergency, doctors will use a thrombolytic to help dissolve the blood clots. The most popular of the thrombolytic therapy drugs is called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), but there are many other types of drugs available in anticoagulants as well as in thrombolytics.
In the infographic below, created by Blood Clot Recovery Network, you will have an overview of what is DVT and also useful information like practical measures to minimize pain and discomfort. In 25% of Americans who suffer from DVT, their first symptom is sudden death.
Furthermore, this is the third deadliest disease after a heart attack and cancer, and yet is it virtually unknown by most people. Therefore, if we are well-informed, we can recognize the warning signs and do something about it before it is too late!
Click on infographic to enlarge
|An infographic by the team at Blood Clot Recovery Network|
Photo credit: CaptCuervo/Flickr