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REPOST: Study pinpoints women at risk for blood clots from pregnancy

In this MSN Healthy Living, Robert Preidt reports the newly released findings on the occurrence of blood clots in pregnant women.

TUESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) — Several factors that increase the risk of blood clots in women during or after pregnancy are outlined in a large new study.

Women who were older than 35, who were overweight or obese, or who smoked were at somewhat higher risk of developing blood clots during pregnancy. Medical complications such as pre-existing diabetes, varicose veins and inflammatory bowel disease were also associated with increased risk.

The findings could help doctors identify at-risk women and take measures to prevent them from developing blood clots, which can be dangerous and potentially deadly if they break free and travel to areas such as the heart, brain or lungs.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from nearly 400,000 pregnancies that occurred between 1995 and 2009.

Among new mothers, being obese was associated with a fourfold increased risk of developing a blood clot. The risk was two times higher than normal among those who had a cesarean delivery, a premature birth, bleeding in pregnancy or had given birth three or more times, according to the study, which appeared April 2 in the journal Blood.

Women who had a stillbirth were six times more likely to develop a blood clot, formally known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

“We believe the strong association between stillbirths and premature births and [blood clots] in particular is a finding of real importance that has received only limited attention to date,” study leader Dr. Matthew Grainge, of the School of Community Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham, in England, said in a university news release. “[Stillbirths and premature births] are not currently incorporated in the guidelines for risk assessment for [blood clots] and, if they were, then many cases associated with those risk factors could potentially be prevented.”

Blood clots affect about one or two pregnancies per 1,000, according to the news release. Despite being rare, blood clots are a leading cause of death in expectant and new mothers in developing countries.

“Preventative measures for [blood clots], such as a daily dose of the blood thinner heparin, may not be cost effective or safe and are therefore only recommended for women who are considered high risk,” Grainge said. “However, there is currently inconsistency and disagreement over the factors that put women in that high-risk category, and we hope this research will provide clinicians with valuable new information.”

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Hormone disorder and the Pill tied to blood clots

This article from HealthNews.com warns women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) on the possible effects of taking Pill.

 

birthcontrolNEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Women who have a hormone disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and who take the birth control pill have twice the risk of blood clots than do other women on the Pill, according to a new study.

“For many women with PCOS, (the risks) will be small,” said Dr. Christopher McCartney, an associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, who was not involved in the new work. “For some women, they might be high enough to say we really shouldn’t use the Pill, such as for women over 35 who smoke.”

The three to five percent of women in the U.S. with PCOS have a hormone imbalance, which can lead to irregular periods, extra hair growth and higher risks for being overweight and developing hypertension and diabetes.

They are often treated with oral contraceptives, many of whose labels already include warnings about blood clots. A blood clot, also called venous thromboembolism, can be deadly if it spreads to the lungs, although none of the cases of blood clots in the study were fatal.

Because women with PCOS already tend to have more heart disease risk factors, researchers wanted to see if the Pill adds any additional risk.

They used medical and pharmacy information from a large health insurance database, including 43,500 women with PCOS.

On average, over the course of a particular year, about 24 out of every 10,000 women with PCOS taking the Pill were diagnosed with a blood clot, compared to about 11 out of every 10,000 women without the disorder using the contraceptive.

“Am I particularly surprised by the findings? No,” said Dr. Shahla Nader-Eftekhari, a professor at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, who treats women with PCOS but was not involved in the current study.

 

OBESITY PLAYING A ROLE?

 

1506002_f260The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, could not say for sure why women with PCOS are more likely to have a blood clot.

McCartney said he suspects that obesity has something to do with it.

At the beginning of the study in 2001 the percent of women with and without PCOS who were obese was the same – about 13 percent – but by the end of the study in 2009, 33 percent of women with PCOS and 21 percent of women without the disorder were obese.

“I really think that could be something that’s contributing to the risk,” McCartney told Reuters Health.

“Weight not only contributes to the risks associated with the Pill, it also contributes to some of the symptoms of PCOS and some of the metabolic problems associated with PCOS,” he added.

McCartney pointed out that the risk of developing a blood clot, even among women with PCOS, is still considered small, and shouldn’t necessarily discourage women from taking the Pill.

Steven Bird, the lead author of the study and an epidemiologist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said that the importance of the findings is to raise awareness among women and their doctors that there is an increased risk for them if they take the Pill.

“Although the risk is small, prescribers should consider the increased risk for blood clots in women with PCOS who are prescribed contraceptive therapy,” Bird told Reuters Health by email.

McCartney agreed, and added that it’s also a good reminder for doctors of women with PCOS to discuss the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.

 

Source: http://www.healthnews.com/en/news/Hormone-disorder-and-the-Pill-tied-to-blood-clots/3BJ2mZL0D1uPLai_DcVusI/