Thrombosis – a world-wide epidemic
Beating inside every one of us – the very essence of our life-force and of our humanity – is the heart. Its power drives our blood around the body and the brain. That smooth flow of blood is crucial; if a simple clot forms in the wrong place, in a vein or an artery, it can quickly put the body in grave danger, preventing the passage of blood, straining the heart, starving the brain of oxygen.A blood clot is known medically as a thrombosis – and it is the common factor in 95 per cent of cases of heart disease and stroke; 500,000 die from thrombosis every year in Europe.
Yet, thrombosis itself is often overlooked and comparatively under-researched. And unless mankind finds a cure for it, we will never see an end to cardiovascular disease (CVD), the scourge of western and eastern worlds alike.
Moreover with delay the problem deepens – already reaching epidemic proportions in countries such as China and India, thrombosis is also affecting an increasing number of the growing ageing population in countries such as our own.
Nor does thrombosis threaten just those with CVD; cancer patients are at high risk, too: with 20 per cent of these deaths due not to tumours but to blood clots. Indeed all hospital patients are at high risk. Blood clots are the major cause of death following routine operations, killing 25 times as many patients as hospital superbugs such as MRSA.
One in three patients may develop DVT (deep vein thrombosis: the formation of a clot in a deep vein, most commonly the leg) if no preventative measures are given. More people die from thrombosis than the combined figures of those who die from AIDS, breast cancer and in road traffic accidents.
Thrombosis is unpredictable, with devastating consequences. Hospital treatments and interventions can save life but often merely prolong it.
Our mission is critical for world health: to find a solution to thrombosis.