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Doctor warns about vacation-related blood clots

CBS affiliate WWJ out of Detroit interviewed cardiologist Dr. Mazen Shoukfeh, who warned that vacation season brings an increased risk of blood clots.

Shoukfeh said that every year, he sees an annual increase in patients with blood clots in their legs during car travel season at his practice. In one extreme case, he said, a patient suffered deep vein thrombosis – a major blood clot – in the leg on a trip home from Florida.

The report quotes Shoukfeh as saying: “Right in the middle of the road she developed severe unilateral pain and swelling. Thank God she went to an emergency room.”

Blood clots can be deadly if they break off and travel to the brain, heart or lungs. Long periods of physical activity are a risk factor. Shoukfeh said those at the most risk include elderly people, those who are overweight, smokers and women taking birth control pills.

While all birth control pills can increase the risk of blood clots, a number of studies show that pills with the synthetic hormone drospirenone can increase that risk up to three times compared to other oral contraceptives on the market. Pills with drospirenone include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

Shoukfeh said about 30 percent of such blood clots will travel to the lungs, with 30 percent of those cases being fatal. He recommends that travelers stop and walk around for at least five minutes every two hours on long trips to keep circulation normal.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.

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