e-Newsletter - June 2016
Advancing the Prevention, Early Diagnosis, and
Treatment of Life-Threatening Blood Clots
Destination Bound: Tips for Safe Summer Travel 

Each year, more than 300 million people travel on long-distance flights (more than four hours long), with the total number of long-distance trips (about 657 million) happening from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The summer months are, in fact, the perfect time  to hop on a plane, train, bus, or car and explore new and sometimes faraway places with family and friends. As you plan your itinerary and pack your clothes, it's important to add blood clot prevention to the list of things to do before heading out of town. Sitting for too long, particularly on long haul flights of four hours or more, can pose a risk for t he formation of blood clots in the legs or arms (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) and life-threatening blood clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism or PE).
Just as important as taking steps to prevent travel-related blood clots, is taking steps to manage your care and overcome potential anxieties if you are planning a summer excursion. For many folks, it can be overwhelming or even frightening to plan a trip to a new or exotic place while worrying about things like blood thinning medication, INR draws if you are taking warfarin, and what to do if you have an emergency, but are not near home.
NBCA offers some simple tips and tools to help you plan your summer vacation, even if you are managing life with a blood clot.
  • Plan ahead. If you are taking warfarin, make sure your INR is stable before traveling. If you are taking any anticoagulant medications, make sure you have enough medication for your trip, plus a few extra days in case your travel plans are delayed.
  • Know where to seek medical care. There is nothing worse than being on vacation in a strange place and needing to get your INR checked (if you are taking warfarin), let alone being faced with a medical emergency. Use this resource to find an anticoagulation clinic near where you may be traveling. If you're traveling abroad, call your insurance provider before your trip to discuss procedures for seeking emergency medical care while away.
  • Talk to your doctor. Whether you are traveling in the U.S. or abroad, talk to your doctor before you go about what you need to do to stay safe and have fun on the road. Work with your healthcare provider to gather resources and develop a plan in case you need to seek medical attention while away.    
As always, know your risk for blood clots and be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of blood clots as part of your blood clot prevention plan.  
Stretching in Your Seat

By Sammi Toner, University of Pittsburgh Intern and Special Contributor to NBCA's Women & Blood Clots Program and the NBCA e-Newsletter

It's summer time, and that means longer days, more sun, and summer vacation. While you may be excited to begin your travels, long periods of sitting in a car, bus, or plane can put you at a higher risk of a blood clot in your legs.

Remaining in a sedentary position for long periods of time (typically more than 4 hours) can increase your risk of developing a dangerous blood clot, particularly when remaining seated in cramped spaces. When you sit for hours at a time, your circulation slows, especially in the legs. This can slow the blood flow in your legs, or cause the blood to pool in your lower limbs, and increase the chances of a blood clot forming. 

There are many ways to prevent blood clots from forming during long trips. The easiest way is to stretch your legs about once an hour. If traveling in a car or bus, make sure to pull over and walk around for a few minutes to prevent slow circulation.  On an airplane, get up and walk around, if and when it is safe to do so. Be sure to give yourself enough legroom to stretch your legs when you are not permitted to leave your seat. You may even want to request an aisle seat for additional stretching room. 

Avoid crossing your legs if possible when sitting in cramped spaces, and wear compression stockings, which help circulate blood from your legs throughout your body. Although you may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee or a cocktail while in flight, experts suggest that people avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which can contribute to dehydration and an increased risk of clotting.

Don't let blood clots interfere with your summer fun or travel plans.  Visit NBCA's Passport to Safety for more information about travel and blood clot risks. 
New Resource for Joint Replacement Patients 

The National Blood Clot Alliance is pleased to introduce the availability of a new information resource on our organization's website:  The  Stop the Clot® Patient Toolkit for Knee and Hip Replacement Patients   was created to provide individuals who are undergoing a total knee arthroplasty (TKA) or total hip arthroplasty (THA) with information about the risk of blood clots associated with these surgical procdures, and to help increase understanding so joint replacement patients can take steps to prevent and treat blood clots.
While there are several risk factors for developing a blood clot, knee or hip replacement surgery is considered to be one of the major contributing causes.

This toolkit contains the following resources:
  • fact sheet about the risk of blood clots related to knee or hip joint replacement surgery.
  • checklist of questions to help you work through the details of your medical treatment plan with your doctor.
In the United States, orthopedic surgeons performed about 332,000 hip replacements and about 719,000 kn ee replacements in 2010. These procedures are expected to become more common.  DVT is widely recognized as a major risk factor facing patients who undergo hip or knee replacement surgery. 
  • However, a survey previously conducted by NBCA showed that only 29 percent of hip replacement patients and 21 percent of knee replacement patients had heard of DVT or PE, and nearly two-thirds did not receive additional information about blood clot risks related to knee and hip replacement surgery from their healthcare professionals. 
  • Please help prevent blood clots by sharing this toolkit with people you know who are preparing for or who just received joint replacement surgery.
  • This Stop the Clot® Toolkit for THA/TKA patients was made possible by an educational grant provided by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 
Community Connection

Sixth Annual Jim Flanagan Memorial Golf Outing
Please join the National Blood Clot Alliance on August 20,  2016 at the Eagle Creek Golf Course in Indianapolis, IN, for the  Sixth Annual Jim Flanagan Memorial Golf Outing . This event honors and celebrates the life of Jim Flanagan, an avid golfer and all-around fantastic guy. Jim passed away from a pulmonary embolism (PE or blood clot in the lung) in 2011. All proceeds will benefit the National Blood Clot Alliance to help us continue our life-saving mission.  

Be a part of Team Stop The Clot® this November
We still have a few spots open on our 2016 TCS NYC Marathon Stop The Clot® Team. 2016 marks our fifth year in a row running this elite race. In total, our team of 35 members has raised an outstanding $176,000 and helped to raise awareness about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for blood clots. If you are a survivor or NBCA supporter thinking about taking part in this incredible day, now is the time. If you're interested,  fill out this application or e-mail Judi Elkin at jelkin@stoptheclot.org.

Volunteer Opportunity
"Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer." - Author Unknown
If you are a survivor, family member, or NBCA supporter wondering how you can make a difference, we are looking for you. The National Blood Clot Alliance is searching for volunteers to plan local community events for this upcoming fall to raise awareness and help us continue our mission. We will work with you closely the entire way to ensure your event is successful and unique to you. These events can be a great way to connect with your community, honor a loved one, or share your own experience while helping others. If you want to plan an event, fill out our Volunteer Questionnaire and a staff member will be in touch with you soon.

Upcoming Events
Saturday, June 11, 2016 - New York, NY - Walk to Stop the Clot® in memory of Michael Scott
Saturday, August 20, 2016 - Indianapolis, IN - Sixth Annual Jim Flanagan Memorial Golf Outing
Sunday, November 6, 2016 - New York, NY - The 2016 TCS NYC Marathon

Thank You for Making a Difference 

Thank you for helping the National Blood Clot Alliance raise awareness about women and blood clot risks during National Women's Health Week by signing up for our Thunderclap campaign. Because you signed up for this Thunderclap event, we reached an additional 162,312 people across your social networks - Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr - with this important message. Visit our new Stop the Clot™ Web Wall of Recognition where we recognize the individuals and organizations who made our Thunderclap a great success.

Get Engaged in Your Community Today

Join the National Blood Clot Alliance Online Support Group and Discussion Community, a  safe and supportive place where you  can inspire and be inspired.
 Sign up for free here:   Let's connect

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