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Lack of iron linked to blood clots

19 December 2011 09:41

People can develop Deep Vein Thrombosis after long distance air travel

People can develop Deep Vein Thrombosis after long distance air travel

UK researchers have found that the possibility of developing potentially life-threatening blood clots may be higher in people with low levels of iron in the blood.

The findings of the study, reported in the journal Thorax, were based on an analysis of the link between iron levels and blood clots in 609 haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) patients.

HHT is a genetic disorder that leads to abnormal blood vessel formation. Nosebleeds and acute digestive tract bleeding are some of its symptoms.

As iron is lost during bleeding, iron levels in the blood of many of the participants are low. Patients with low levels of iron were found to be more likely to develop blood clots.

However, when iron supplements were given to the participants, they were not found to be at a higher risk, suggesting that types of blood clots such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) could be prevented by providing treatment for iron deficiency.

DVT often strikes after long haul flights, demonstrating the benefits of having medical travel insurance cover before you travel.