women

Urgent warning to women under 40 after sharp rise in sudden killer

Women under 40 are increasingly dying of a sudden killer disease, a campaigner has warned.

Blood clots can occur in people of any age and strike those who are seemingly fit and healthy.

Data from Scotland show an unusual spike in the rates of deaths caused by blood clots in the past five years.

The information was requested by Gordon Mcpherson – a dad from Renfrewshire whose daughter died of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) at the age of 23.

There were a total of 73 deaths in under 40-year-old women between 2002 and 2006 where a blood clot was the underlying cause.

This rose to 81 in the five years leading up to the COVID pandemic, The Herald reported. 

This was despite a drop to 44 deaths between 2008 and 2012.

Although the numbers are small, they do not fit with the overall trend for women of all ages.

There were 684 deaths from blood clots in the female population in 2002, which almost halved to 361 in 2019.

The figure jumped up again in 2020, to 446, in relation to the Covid pandemic, as the coronavirus can cause blood clotting.

But Mr. Mcpherson said he was “puzzled” by the jump in fatal blood clots in younger women prior to COVID.

He said: “You would expect to see it going down – I don’t understand it. It’s very disappointing.

“People need to be made aware of what to look out for, and how to reduce their risks.”

Blood clots have dozens of causes, from stroke, heart attack and hospital stays.

Pregnancy, some contraceptives, smoking, being overweight and family history mean blood clots can affect young people, as well as old.

Long travel journeys and being inactive – including sitting watching TV all day – also increase the risks.

Symptoms of a blood clot can include throbbing, redness or swelling in a leg or arm, or sudden breathlessness or chest pain.

Out of the blue

Mr. Mcperhson’s daughter, Katie Mcpherson, developed a pain in her lower leg in January 2003.

The 23-year-old student occupational therapist went to both the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI) and Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley believing she had the symptoms of DVT.

But doctors wrongly dismissed DVT – a blood clot in a major artery, usually the leg – as the cause.

Days later, Katie fell seriously ill at home and died on her way to the hospital.

Mr. Mcpherson said: “There was a change in Katie’s contraceptive pill nine days before she died, and we cannot prove one way or another [whether that was the cause], but it’s a factor.

“She went into the ERI and said ‘I think I’ve got a DVT’, but they said ‘no, you don’t’.

“They didn’t bother giving her any of the DVT injections. Five £1 injections [to thin the blood] would have saved her life.”

Scans later revealed that Katie’s leg had been “a mass of DVTS.”

Symptoms of a blood clot can include throbbing, redness or swelling in a leg or arm, or sudden breathlessness or chest pain.
Shutterstock

Mr. Mcpherson, from Renfrewshire, is pushing for the Scottish Government to do more to reduce the death toll from fatal blood clots.

He is also seeking clarification on why figures show an overall decrease in deaths where blood clots are the primary cause of death, but an increase where blood clots contribute.

According to the NRS data, deaths from a blood clot as a single underlying cause fell from 720 in 2002 to 644 in 2019.

However, over the same period, deaths, where clots were mentioned as contributory factors, climbed by 17 percent, to 3,285.

Professor Simon Noble, a consultant in palliative care and medical director for charity Thrombosis UK, said blood clot deaths tended to be underestimated. 

He said: “These data illustrate that venous thromboembolism is a significant cause of death that is not restricted to the elderly; it can affect anyone.

“Unfortunately, the system to capture these figures is not perfect and the true number of thrombosis-related deaths is likely to be much higher.”

This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.