Knowledge could save your life

Published 9:07 pm Monday, March 21, 2016

On Friday, my “middle” sister, Beth, would have turned 49.

Of the three of us, she had the sweetiest, sunniest disposition. As a child, even during the most serious of moments, she was always cracking up with laughter or hatching up some evil plot for fun. She had a natural spark of joy about her, even about the littlest things in life. I think that’s what I miss most about her.

We lost her on April 2, just days after her 45th birthday, to a pulmonary embolism (in simple terms, a blood clot) caused by DVT. It’s an acronym for Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness and appropriately, March is National DVT Awareness Month. (Don’t feel bad — I had no clue what it meant at first and even now, I’m still learning.)

Email newsletter signup

And unfortunately, we aren’t alone. According to the American Heart Association, up to 2 million Americans are affected annually by DVT, more commonly known as blood clots, but most of us — 74 percent, according to American Public Health Association — don’t know what they are.

While I am certainly not qualified to tell medical facts, I will share this website with you: Organized by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Clot Connect focuses on educating laymen and experts with up-to-date information about blood clots. Learn the symptoms and educate yourself before you go to your doctors.

Beth had been undergoing treatment for knee pain unsuccessfully for a couple of months when she passed away unexpectedly one night. Apparently, her pain was treated as an orthopedic issue for several months before anyone got around to making that appointment for testing that likely would have revealed the blood clot. Ironically, that appointment was scheduled for the day she passed away.

So in memory of my sister’s birthday and because it is National DVT Awareness Month, take a few minutes to read up on the topic.

You know yourself. If you are having unresolved pains, take them seriously. Do not hesitate to ask — nay, demand — that your doctors check for blood clots.