DVT risk from pollution

September 21, 2008

We have become used to the idea that being immobile for long periods such as on a long-haul flight, or sitting in the same position at a desk for hours, may pose a risk for DVT (deep vein thrombosis), but now it seems that the air pollution produced by the burning of fossil fuels can drastically increase the risk of developing these potentially fatal blood clots as well. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health did some research on the air pollution levels in the Lombardy region of Italy. They chose an area where 870 known DVT patients lived, along with their 1200 healthy neighbours. When they analysed the air pollution they found that for every 10 microgram per square meter increase in particulate concentration, a person’s risk of DVT increased by a staggering 70%.

I don’t know if Lombardy is particularly polluted, but if you live in an industrial area, it would pay you to know about the warning signs for DVT – though it has to be said sometimes, there are none at all. The first sign can be chest pain or discomfort which usually gets worse when you take a deep breath or when you cough. You might have get an unexplained sudden onset of shortness of breath, which is the most common symptom, or feel lightheaded, dizzy or even a bit anxious. If you are at all concerned, please consult your doctor, and if it is a severe chest pain get immediate help.


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