ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwired - Mar 11, 2015) - In recognition of Blood Clot Awareness Month, celebrated in March each year, the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) is unveiling a new public education campaign with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase awareness about life-threatening blood clots and to urge people nationwide to ask themselves one potentially life-saving question: Could I be at risk for a blood clot?

Blood clots do not discriminate by age, gender, ethnicity or race. Blood clots affect everyone -- from infants and young children to teens, young moms and dads, people of middle age, and senior citizens too. Across the country and around the globe, elite athletes, public servants, musicians, doctors, nurses, business associates, and people from all walks of life are affected.

Up to 900,000 people in the United States each year are affected by blood clots in their legs (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) and blood clots in their lungs (pulmonary embolism or PE). Annually, up to 100,000 Americans -- or an average of one person every six minutes -- will die due to a blood clot. Estimates included in the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism stated that deaths due to blood clots surpass those due to AIDS, breast cancer, and automobile accidents combined.

This new public education campaign -- called Stop the Clot, Spread the Word™ -- aims to sharpen public awareness about blood clot risk factors, as well as the signs and symptoms of blood clots, to help turn back the staggering impact of DVT and PE on so many families.

"Blood clots can cause serious illness, disability and in some cases death," stated Coleen A. Boyle, Ph.D., MShyg., Director of CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. "CDC has worked closely with the National Blood Clot Alliance for many years to help prevent blood clots and save lives. We are pleased to continue this partnership through the launch of NBCA's new Stop the Clot, Spread the Word™ campaign in recognition of Blood Clot Awareness Month."

Using the latest digital communications tools, the Stop the Clot, Spread the Word™ campaign will be reaching millions of people who need to understand how blood clots can affect them and if they may be at risk. 

"Research shows that about 75 percent of people in this country know little or nothing about life-threatening blood clots," explains Michael B. Streiff, MD, FACP, Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland. "Blood clots can be prevented, which makes it crucial for us to raise awareness and, in turn, save lives."

The first and best way to prevent blood clots is to learn about risk factors that might affect you and talk to your doctor about your blood clot risks. According to Dr. Streiff, some of the most common risk factors for blood clots include: hospitalization, surgery, cancer and cancer treatments, pregnancy, and the use of estrogen-based birth control and hormone replacement therapy. 

"When caught in time, blood clots can be safely treated," says Dr. Streiff, "making it very important for people to recognize the signs and symptoms that can signal the need for medical care."

The symptoms of blood clots in the legs include pain, swelling, tenderness, and redness or discoloration of the skin. Symptoms of blood clots in the lung include shortness of breath, sharp chest pain that worsens with deep breathing, and coughing up blood.

"I knew nothing about the potential danger of blood clots, until the day they changed my life forever," says Eric O'Connor, a marathon runner, father of three young boys, and a professional photographer who survived multiple blood clots in his lungs at the age of 32. "I was fit, extremely active, and in great shape when my blood clots occurred. You might think this shouldn't have happened to me, but it did. This can happen to anyone. I could have lost my life to a blood clot. I know I'm lucky to be alive. Too many others are not as lucky as me."

This Stop the Clot, Spread the Word™ public education campaign is made possible by funding provided to the National Blood Clot Alliance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program includes a spectrum of integrated digital health education tools, including an online educational portal that offers a downloadable checklist of blood clot risk factors, a short video about blood clots, and additional information to help people learn more about blood clot risks, signs and symptoms, and prevention.

NBCA is a non-profit, voluntary health organization dedicated to advancing the prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of life-threatening blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and clot-provoked stroke. NBCA accomplishes its mission through programs that build public awareness, educate patients and healthcare professionals, and promote supportive public and private sector policy.

Contact Information:

Lisa Fullam