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).
I like how you have a personal connection to your topic. I’m sorry for your dad, but I’m glad to hear that he is healthy now. Since you have a personal connection to your topic, I’m sure you are looking forward to promoting your campaign and I can’t wait to see what kind of impact you can make.
I think it was a great idea to put a poll on your blog to see how many people know about DVT. As you told us in class, not many people know what it is, and your poll is proof. I would do a similar poll on facebook, or a public website that anybody can see. I think it would get more responses, and you could pool them all together!
At first, I wasn’t really sure where you were going to go with this topic. However, after reading your post I really like your connection and your idea of a public awareness campaign. Maybe for some of your research you could do a public survey to see how many people really know what DVT is. Maybe put some in Health Services or get a campus wide email. You’re probably going to have to go through RIC’s IRB. I think it’d add an interesting twist and help you direct your campaign.
I agree with Ericka, you can do so much education with this topic because so many people are unaware. Doing a survey could be a really helpful piece of your research. It could be really cool to develop an education program of sorts to present to at risk populations maybe?
Oh, my, Gosh! That part about your father getting it, I was so freaking out. I put my mouth over my hand because I thought you were going to say that he died! It’s a good thing that he didn’t but it was a very close call. In order to not have any more of those close calls, it would make sense to get a highly wicked super smart girl like yourself to go and research this stuff and get it into the hands, and brains, of the public. Good job!
I am trying to think about things that might help you along in your study. The first that comes to mind is this: take a RIC survey, like the one you have on your blogger (that is a really good idea, by the way) and see how knowledgeable the student population is about it. Maybe for part of your project, you go out, on the quad, like the Socialists and Christians do, and talk about DVT.
Whoops! I just read that other people are giving the same comments as me.
Alright, this means that I must come up with something new! I am thinking….. OH!!! You can look into who is at higher risk for this problem. I know it is caused by clots and sitting for long periods of time, but maybe a person with, say, high cholesterol is more prone to it than a healthy fit person. Im sure you already thought of that. What else? ….. OH! Maybe fid out why nurses don’t mention it. Maybe it is a lack of education, lack of time, or, perhaps, it is just not ‘statistically significant’ enough to mention. Do you know what I mean by that?
ok, I typed a lot. I think your project is going to be super-duper-wicked cool (if i already didn’t tell you that) and I hope to learn more about what you’ve got going on in the future.