Pedal power to raise awareness of killer clots

Pharmacist and Thrombosis UK trustee Stephane Jaglin is set to get on his bike to raise awareness of a condition that kills 25 000 people a year and causes life-changing complications to thousands more.

On World Thrombosis Day (Saturday 13 October) Stephane will be cycling between the Emersons Green and Devizes NHS Treatment Centres to raise funds for Thrombosis UK to support scientists in their quest for a solution.

Stephane, who is a pharmacist at both centres, said: “Medicine has come a long way in preventing blood clots, but they remain a major cause of death and disability in the UK. People may be surprised to learn that it is the number one cause of preventable deaths in hospital and responsible for one in four of all deaths. Globally, someone dies from a clot every six seconds.”

A blood clot can occur in anyone and without any warning signs or symptoms. The most common occurs in the arms or legs and is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). But it can then travel to the lung and provoke a pulmonary embolism (PE), or can be a combination, known as a venous thromboembolism (VTE). Other clots originating from the heart of a patient with atrial fibrillation (AF) can get dislodged and travel to the brain causing a stroke.

Stephane, who lives in Chipping Sodbury, said: “The good news is that we can all do things to limit our chances of developing a clot.”

Stephane’s top five tips to prevent clots are:

  1. Exercise – walk, swim, cycle do anything that gets your legs moving and the blood flowing.
  2. Keep hydrated, this provides water to the “piping system” of our bodies keeping the blood fluid (a bit like adding milk in your porridge to make is runny).
  3. Stop smoking – smoking seriously damages the cells that line blood vessels enabling the blood to clot.
  4. Keep a healthy weight. There are a number of scientific reasons that show how being obese increases your risk of thrombosis, including increased inflammation and stress. At the most basic level, low energy will also mean you are less likely to keep moving.
  5. Even in the office, get up and move around at least every hour whenever you are sitting for longer than four hours. Otherwise, Stephane warns, the blood struggles to come back from the feet towards the heart causing a “traffic jam” which causes the clots to form.