Latest Laois News: Laois People urged to learn blood clot signs & act fast by Portlaoise Nursing & Midwifery teams

Latest Laois News: Laois People urged to learn blood clot signs & act fast by Portlaoise Nursing & Midwifery teams

Portlaoise Nursing & Midwifery Teams encourage all in region to educate themselves on signs & symptoms of blood clots & act fast

On World Thrombosis Day staff at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise (MRHP) are encouraging people to educate themselves on the signs of blood clots and act fast if they suspect a clot, which they say can happen to anyone, young or old. Clots are preventable in many cases and very treatable if caught on time but can be potentially fatal if the signs are ignored.

The latest figures suggest that 1 in 12 Irish people will experience a blood clot in their lifetime. Thrombosis occurs when a blood clot blocks a vein or artery. If the clot later breaks off and travels to the lungs, it can prove fatal. One in four people who get a clot will die from it. To raise awareness a special information stand was set up in the MRH Portlaoise today to educate patients and staff about thrombosis.

Paula Dunne, a Clinical Nurse Manager from the Anticoagulation Clinic at MRH Portlaoise says, “Blood clots can be very serious and need to be treated quickly. While staying healthy and active can help prevent blood clots, people should seek medical help immediately if they have one or more of the following symptoms; swelling or pain in one leg or calf with associated warmth or redness in a leg, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, chest pain, which may be worse when you breathe in, or if you have a cough and are coughing up blood.”

Research has discovered you are more likely to get a clot if;

·       You are admitted to the hospital and for 90 days after you go home

·       Are pregnant or have had a baby less than 6 weeks ago

·       Have active cancer or are receiving cancer treatment

·       Have one or both legs immobilised, for example in a leg cast

·       Are overweight or have a BMI greater than 30

(L to R) Paula Dunne, Clinical Nurse Manager Anticoagulation Clinic at MRH Portlaoise
Emma Mullins, The Assistant Director of Midwifery at MRH Portlaoise

Other factors which can heighten your risk of clots include increasing age, smoking, using oral contraception or having had a blood clot before.

Emma Mullins, The Assistant Director of Midwifery at MRH Portlaoise says, “A blood clot in a leg is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Pregnancy and giving birth can increase your risk of having a DVT because of changes to your hormones and circulation. Many pregnant women get swollen ankles and legs at some stage. Swelling on its own doesn’t mean you have a DVT. But if you’re worried, phone your GP, obstetrician or midwife.”

Sandra McCarthy, Director of Nursing at MRH Portlaoise says, “If you’re at risk of blood clots – for example, you’re in hospital – follow the advice of your Doctor about preventing clots. This may involve wearing stockings that improve your blood flow or taking medicine to reduce the risk of clots (anticoagulants). There are also things you can do to help avoid clots. Keep moving – even if you’re sick in bed, try to move your legs and feet every 90 minutes and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You should also avoid sitting for long periods, smoking and drinking alcohol.”

Thrombosis Ireland founding member and Thrombosis Patient, Ann Marie O’Neill, remarked: “We would like every person in Ireland to be aware of Thrombosis and know their risk and not to be afraid to ask for a blood clot risk assessment. We would like them to be informed of the signs & symptoms of a blood clot and to seek immediate action if they experience symptoms by, contacting their doctor”.

The HSE and Thrombosis Ireland have developed a Blood Clot Alert Card, to be given to all patients as they are discharged from the hospital. Click the following link to view it or log in to Thrombosis Ireland .