So my last post wasn’t exactly the mind mapping we were supposed to do this week and I’m know that I’m really late with this (I’ll blame Nemo) but here goes nothing.
As I’ve said before this topic became of interest to me because of my dad. Looking at what happened to him and so many other people makes me want to find the loop hole in the system/the reason that it keeps happening. I’ve pointed out that DVT is a preventable condition so in my mind I don’t understand why it has the high morbidity and mortality rates that it does.
I mind-mapped on my own a few months ago and here’s what I came up with:
1. I was at first looking for ways to prevent DVT. Plain and simple. Just ways to prevent it from occurring. But then I realized that’s been done — there are tons of things that can prevent it (Heparin and Lovenox injections, TED stockings, sequential compression devices, early ambulations, filters placed in the veins to prevent DVT from turning into a PE, etc.)
2. So the next question I asked was whether doctors and nurses weren’t aware enough of this condition. Is there not enough coverage within medical schools and nursing school curriculums? Through a literature search of medical and nursing journals I’ve found tons of research about how to prevent DVT. I don’t know if that’s the biggest issue either.
3. That’s what brought me to the idea of public education. There have been various campaigns regarding different health conditions that have improved knowledge and decreased mortality rates. A good example of this is the FAST campaign regarding strokes. I think that has increased many people’s knowledge of stroke and the early signs/symptoms and because of this more lives have been saved.
4. I figure most people know the warning signs of stroke or a heart attack (I plan to do a survey to be sure of this) but no one has ever even heard of DVT. And if they haven’t heard of it they definitely can’t identify risk factors or symptoms. This is what I think the biggest problem is. In order to promote optimum health for people they need to be able to take charge, be knowledgable about their own bodies, and make decisions that are in their best interest.
I’m about halfway done with my proposal (which is due by March 20th, so I’m shooting for having it done by spring break) and I’m stuck now. I’m still not 100% what direction to take this in. I think I want to create a PSA and various other materials that can inform the lay person of this condition. I also need to find a way to get information out to people that they will actually pay attention to. Creating a video is only useful if people actually watch it, etc.
Any ideas where to head with this?
I’m currently doing research about a health condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Now as you’re reading this, many of you might be wondering what DVT is. That’s exactly why I’m doing this research.
DVT is a condition in which blood clots form in a persons extremities (usually their legs) when a person is immobile for a lengthy amount of time. This could be from a long airplane ride or from being in bed after an injury or surgery. DVT manifests as redness, warmth, and pain in the affected leg. The leg also becomes swollen and larger than the other, unaffected leg. There are many complications that can occur from DVT. One of them is called a pulmonary embolism (PE), and it occurs when a piece of the blood clot breaks off and travels to a person’s lungs. The person may cough, have some shortness of breath, or appear to have pneumonia-like symptoms. Very often these symptoms are mild, but if this complication is not recognized and treated immediately, it is often fatal.
DVT is a health issue that hits extremely close to home for me. Several years ago my dad suffered a deep vein thrombosis after dislocating his knee. He also developed a pulmonary embolism. When my dad left the hospital after having his knee splinted, the doctors told him to sit still and not to move for fear of re-dislocating it. My dad did exactly that. None of the doctors or nurses who saw him that afternoon thought to tell him or my mom that he should wiggle his toes to keep the blood moving. Both of my parents are highly educated, and neither one of them had known that he was at risk for such serious complications.
Fortunately for my family and I, after a lengthy recovery today my dad is happy and healthy. However this is not the case for many other families. Every single year in the US, DVT and PE kill between 60,000-100,000 people (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/data.html). That is more people than AIDS, car accidents, and breast cancer COMBINED.
It is my hypothesis that if more people in the general public were aware of the condition, and knew about the signs and symptoms that hopefully that number would be less. My goal is to develop a public education campaign to increase knowledge about this condition. DVT and it’s complications are unlike cancer and other diseases. Many other diseases have genetic factors that predispose a person to it and although a healthy lifestyle helps, many diseases are still unpreventable. I’m going to be bold enough to say that DVT is 100% preventable. There are medications and stockings that can decrease clotting in addition to simple things like ankle exercises. There is no reason for DVT/PE to be the leading cause of preventable deaths among patients while they are in the hospital (http://www.clotcare.com/dvt_pe_blood_clot_patient_stories.aspx).