Skip to comments.Disorder Magnifies Blood Clot Risk
Posted on 06/10/2008 11:42:39 PM PDT by neverdem
When David Bloom, 39, went to Iraq in 2003 to cover the war for NBC News, his wife, Melanie, naturally feared for his safety. Would a bullet or a bomb claim him? A land mine? An ambush?
Instead it was a blood clot lodged in his lungs that ended his life. Ms. Bloom subsequently learned that her husband carried a genetic abnormality, factor V Leiden, that greatly increased his risk for developing blood clots.
Mr. Bloom had three other risk factors for clots: a long plane ride to Iraq, erratic eating habits that could have caused dehydration, and cramped sleeping space in Army vehicles. But had he not had this genetic quirk or had he known about it and the higher risks it carried he might have escaped his fate.
A Hidden Problem
Factor V Leiden (pronounced factor five) is the most common hereditary clotting disorder in the United States, present in 2 percent to 7 percent of Caucasians, less often in Hispanics and rarely in Asians and African-Americans.
The disorder accounts for 20 percent and to 40 percent of cases of deep vein thrombosis, or D.V.T., the clot that Mr. Bloom developed in his leg before it broke loose and traveled to his lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism that caused his death.
Factor V Leiden is more often than not a hidden disorder, until someone in a family often someone like Mr. Bloom, who was athletic and healthy develops a deep vein thrombosis or another unexpected clot. Because screening for this problem is not routine, factor V Leiden is usually not detected until several members of a family develop clots or one person develops a succession of clots.
Even then, a possible carrier of the gene defect may not be tested.
Dr. Rinah Shopnick...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Not unlike the one for quitting smoking or a torn ACL.
fish oil and baby aspirin keeps the blood thin.
Thanks for posting because the public needs to be aware of Factor V Leiden disorder. I have this problem and had my first DVT as a teenager. Luckily I have not had a second occurance in over thirty years.
It’s scary that a long plane or car ride could become fatal, but knowing about it could save some lives.
Recently discovered I’m in that 2 - 7 % category. Found out it’s more common in Scandinavian bloodlines. So far an aspirin a day keeps the clots away.
God forbid. Other folks can't be categorized.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Same here. Wound up with multiple blood clots in both lungs back in 2005 and spent 30 days in the hospital, most of it in ICU. This is serious stuff and not something to be taken lightly.
Unfortunately that doesn't work for Leiden Factor V (or Factor V Leiden as it's sometimes called). It's not about "platelet stickiness" or blood "thinness" -- it's about the body's severe overreaction in production of clotting factor. My husband was hospitalized with clots throughout his lungs at the age of 30, and we discovered it was due to this gene. The clot developed after a 15-hour drive to the AirVenture air show in OshKosh, WI. We didn't realize it until two weeks later when he woke up coughing up blood.
My husband is homozygous for the gene which makes him 80x more likely to develop a clot while just sitting in a chair than you or I (well, except for maybe BigBobber, who's a member of the club too, lol). The only treatment is anticoagulant medication and watching your Vitamin K (think anything green) content very carefully. Getting his INR number regulated was very difficult for us, but we finally did it and got him back in the air (he's a recreational pilot). I'm writing an article about our experiences for the next APSFA newsletter. Here's the current one for anyone who cares to take a read:
(APS is a similar genetic condition to Leiden Factor V.)
Unfortunately, the presence of the gene in him has increased our life insurance costs drastically; his new policy is 3x the cost that it would have been if he had signed it the day before he was hospitalized (we were in the process of upping our coverage when this happened). The "genetic non-discrimination" bill that Bush recently signed is a good thing for us; people with the condition have been turned down for health insurance, and we were worried that would happen to my husband too if we ever had to switch from group insurance to private.
You’re so right about the coumadin and Vitamin K consumption. It’s amazing how much impact your diet can have on your INR. We limit ourselves to one serving of Vitamin K rich vegetables (usually collards) per week. We really do miss all the broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, etc. that we used to love to eat.
We found that my husband is ok as long as he avoids:
spinach (and kale and collard greens)
and brussels sprouts
He can have almost everything else in any quantity he wants, and we’ve adjusted his Warfarin so that he can (he’s on 15mg so that he can eat some greens). He has one small “cheat” portion a week, whether it’s part of a salad, lettuce on tacos or a couple brussels sprounts (which he loves). We’ve found that alcohol affects his INR too, so he tries to have a glass of bourbon after work the same number of times every week.
I also have found ways to cook differently, like offering shredded zucchini and alfalfa sprouts on tacos instead of lettuce, and finding a million different ways to cook the same old veggies. The zucchini somewhat tastes like lettuce, and the sprouts provide the “crunch”.
It’s a lifestyle now. :)
Thanks for the ping, neverdem. Interesting, being of partial Finnish ancestry. Thanks Diver Dave. Great thread. Thanks to all contributors.
I had deep vein thrombosis about five years ago, and it nearly killed me. I was fortunate enough that the clot lodged in my lower abdomen and stayed there instead of travelling to a vital organ.
I thank God I’m still here. My Daughter Samantha will be turning three this August - a blessing I almost missed.
“They suspect that it may have been caused by the recent traveling, a blood clot may have formed and traveled to the heart or brain..... He was a very loving, caring man, and also a Christian. So Im sure hes just having a great time right now :), fishing his butt off.”
From Bonnie (wife) and Brandi (daughter) of FReeper Michigander who died suddenly/recently at age 47...here...
We have a friend, and he is in his early 60’s.
He and his wife are well retired, and their daughter is in the travel business. They own several timeshares around the world.
So the daughter gets them great travel deals and away they fly.
He has had 3 of these problems in the last 3 years. Two were after long flights and one was during a long 3 week of driving around the western US.
His Dad died of a blood clot problem when he was in his late 40’s.
So is this test a standard test and how reliable is it?
Thanks as usual.
Thanks for your informative posts here. I just had blood clot in left leg in mid-April. I’m now on 4mg coumadin with blood draws every 3 wks. Don’t have any idea what all this means, and plan to have a long talk with my MD in two weeks about my condition. I want to know if I’m stable or not. Need answers since I need surgery some point.
Thanks again for info
Good grief! I was on 6 gm of fish oil and numerous supplements that thinned blood, yet I had a blood clot in mid-April in spite of the fact that I had just worked in yard for several hrs.
One never knows.
I heard about factor V Leiden before this story, but you or he needs to consult a hematologist. There are other clotting disorders.
Some insight into freeper Michigander's possible (apparent?) cause of death.
My friend goes to Kaiser. I will suggest that he consult with a hematologist there. His wife loves to take on Kaiser and win.
If your PT and PTT are not in the safe zone, you cannot have Aspirin or Coumadin. Your pretty much screwed.
I have never been on a flight where they didn't provide water (800k miles).
My husband's hematologist calls it "Warfare on Rats". LOL
There are some tests for the genetic markers for these types of clotting disorders (sometimes collectively just called "thrombophilia", btw). I wouldn't recommend getting tested unless there is good reason to (several events, maybe). Knowing about the condition is useful information, but once it hits your medical record, it affects ability to get life insurance. For the most part, the treatment is the same whether you have the condition or not -- the only difference is that with the condition you're on anticoagulants for life. A person who has multiple events probably would be anyway.
The treatment either way is:
Anticoagulants - take them as prescribed
Leafy greens - avoid them
Water - drink lots of it all the time
Crossing your legs - don't do it
Moving around - early and often
Thanks for the data.
My friend is on MediCare (my wife informed me) and Kaiser via the Ca Teacher’s retirement program. So he is covered.
He is on Coumadin and is a good user after his 3rd episode.
He does need to drink more water.
What is behind this “Leafy greens - avoid them”?
Full of vitamin K, which decreases prothrombin time.
I've been on warfarin for nearly ten years because of atrial fibrillation, which can cause blood clots. Eventually you learn how to eat to keep your prothrombin time (INR) within a specific range
Vitamin K (in leafy greens) nullifies the Coumadin/Warfarin.
http://www.ptinr.com has a good database of Vitamin K values for foods, but my husband just avoids a short list of them completely (spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts) and eats the rest in moderation.
You can bring water on the plane, just not through security. I know the bottled water in the airport is expensive, but I've seen people take empty bottles through security and fill them up at a drinking fountain.
I had a pulmonary embolism in 2003 and was tested for Factor Five..the docs swore it was from that. But it wasn’t thank God.
My sister has Factor V and lost a baby at 20 weeks gestation because there was a clot in the umbilical cord and they didn’t know it was there until the baby had died. The testing is very expensive, so they don’t do it as a routine thing.
She has since had a successful pregnancy and has a beautiful baby boy, thanks to the use of blood thinners.
Before her diagnosis, I hadn’t heard of it before.
I am sorry to read about your sister’s lost pregnancy. Congratulations on the nephew!
In light of post #14 (and a hat tip to my wife for connecting the possible dots)...
Health/life BUMP! RIP Bill & Tim.
“Another reason I refuse to travel for work these day, after amassing several hundred thousand frequent flyer miles. Combine the security lines, removing shoes and belt, ditching bottles of water and no water provided on the planes, seats built for 12 year olds and sitting crammed in there dehydrated for 13 hours wondering if those leg cramps are something serious - they should be paying us to fly.”
The year after I retired, I had a very lucrative consulting deal which involved flying a round trip at least once a week or several trips each week.
Even before 9/11, the travel had become such a hassle. I had to travel with a slide projector and the business suits checked in at the gates.
My luggage often missed the flight or went on another flight without me, inspite of early check ins. That created problems re my presentations if my projector was gone and my suits.
Delta on a Saturday morning flight had sold my seat to two other people, one was a very pregnant lady. She got the seat, the other guy went another flight, and I flew home on an attendants seat.
The end of this insanity was a bomb scare at the United Terminal at LAX in May 2001. Thousands of us were herded out into the streets with no explanation. I had a reservation with Avis and contacted them by cell phone. They informed me that there was a bomb scare. They sent a bus to pick me up about a half mile away and contacted United to have my luggage sent to my hotel. I gave a dinner presentation to 50 people with no slides, in my shorts, a tee shirt and looking like I had been in a herd. My luggage arrived at the hotel after midnight with my medicines, suit and slide projector.
On the way home, United tried to seat me between twin bros trying out for the Raiders Offensive line in 3 across seating. There wasn’t enough room for a sheet of paper let alone me. I had to take a later flight. My luggage arrived home two days later.
Later a few Freepers warned me that we/I were in big potential danger as we were marched into the streets at LAX.
That was my last trip with that company, and I went into total retirement.
Afterwards, whenever my wife and I flew, the hassles got worse. My wife ended up as a possible terror risk because she didn’t user her first name anymore. We found out about that when California refused to renew her driver’s license because it was different than her social security name on file.
She was hassled incredibly because of that. She is reddish blond and very fair skinned and yet the hassles continued.
I and a few million others with the same dangerous Celtic Names ended up on a no fly list.
Our last flight was two years ago this coming September when we flew to Jacksonville for a wedding of a good friend. Fortunately we heard that carrying our new Passports and a copy of the pre 9/11 passports would eliminate those security hassles and they did.
However, that was during the no liquids on board hassle. My wife’s contact solutions, make up and meds were in her check in luggage, and those came to our hotel two days later. Fortunately, everything arrived a few days later so she could enjoy our vacation and the wedding.
On the trip home, we changed planes in Phoenix and aiport security was in high gear in the terminal and on our specific SW flight. TSA apparently had bad feelings about 3 guys and one poor 80+ year old WWII fighter pilot, who had flown back to the DC area for a daughter’s funeral. Another guy and I got TSA to back off of him. His crime was he made reservations quickly after his daughters death, flew to the DC area, attended her funeral and was trying to fly back home with minimal luggage and in less than 2 days.
Security personnel apparently came on boaard after we loaded and took off two of the guys via the back door. Then, two young loud mouthed young women started mouthing off before the flight got started, and they were escorted out the front door.
My wife and I decided no more flights unless there was a real emergency. In Feb, we took a cruise out of Mexico. We drove down 101 and spent the night in motel close to the harbor and left our vehicle there and went too and from the ship via their shuttle.
Those aren’t warfarin any more. They are a MUCH longer acting derivative.
The rules have changed. You will still have to dump any OUTSIDE food or drink when going through security. However, once you're through, you can purchase any food or drink within the secure area and bring it on board with you. I was flying once, and had finished half my burger at TGI Friday's. I took the rest in a doggie bag, and brought it on my flight, along with a bottle of water I'd bought at a newsstand. Not a problem. Most airlines still provide complimentary soda, coffee and tea, but as always, you will pay for alcoholic beverages.
“A Danish study of 9,253 adults found that in people who did not smoke, were not overweight and were younger than 40, the 10-year risk of clots and emboli was 1 percent in those with one mutated gene and 3 percent in those with two damaged genes. But the risk increased to 10 percent in people with one mutated gene and 51 percent in those with two abnormal genes if they smoked, were overweight and were older than 60.”
So, don’t smoke, lose weight and don’t pass 60.