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Blood disorders are a public health issue
Date:11/15/2011

San Diego, CA, November 16, 2011 Public health should focus not only on reducing the burden of common diseases but also address the needs of people with blood disorders , experts say in a supplement to December's American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Even relatively common blood disorders fly below the public health system's radar with no established mechanisms for surveillance, supplement editors Scott D. Grosse, PhD, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Andra H. James, MD, of Duke University; and Michele A. Lloyd-Puryear, MD, PhD, of the US National Institutes of Health, write in an introductory essay with Hani K. Atrash, MD, MPH, also of the CDC.

The authors contend that although most of the blood disorders discussed in the supplement are considered rare in the US and Western Europedefined as affecting about 1 in 1,500 peoplethey should be ranked as a public health concern. "A public health framework is needed to address public health services and functions for all rare disorders, including blood disorders, regardless of the incidence or prevalence of a given disorder," they say.

The most common blood disorder, venous thromboembolism (VTE), consists of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. It involves blood clots that occur in veins, usually in the legs, which can break up and move to the lungs and kill. VTE affects at least 1 million people in the US and is a major cause of death in adults, but "little is definitively known about the magnitude of [its] public health burden."

Hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder present in about 1 million Americans but "the opportunity to detect iron overload at an early stage and intervene to prevent the development of clinical disease remains a challenge," they add. And while at least 3 million Americans have sickle cell trait or are carriers of the sickle cell gene mutation, "the extent to which the carrier status poses health thr
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Contact: Beverly Lytton
eAJPM@ucsd.edu
858-534-9340
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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