THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Infections, especially among older adults, may increase the risk of developing potentially dangerous blood clots, a new study suggests.
The clots are called venous thromboembolisms, and include the deep vein thromboses (DVTs) that typically begin in the legs. However, DVTs can also travel to the lungs where they form potentially deadly pulmonary embolisms.
DVTs have been linked to prolonged sitting, gaining the nickname "economy-class syndrome" after cases of passengers developing them on long-haul flights.
But, the new study finds that if an older adult suffers an infection (for example, a urinary, skin or respiratory infection) after a stay in a hospital or nursing home, the risk of developing a venous thromboembolism can rise nearly sevenfold. In people who develop infections at home, the researchers found a threefold increased risk of a clot within 90 days.
The report was published in the April 3 online edition of the journal Circulation.
"Preventing infection can have long-term benefits, in ways that one may not expect," said lead study author Mary Rogers, a research assistant professor in internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.
"This includes fewer problems with blood clots," she said. "If you do develop an infection -- and we all do at times -- be more vigilant regarding possible vascular effects. Keep hydrated. Walking helps. See your doctor if problems arise," said Rogers, who is also research director of the patient safety enhancement program at the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
For the study, Rogers' team collected data on more than 16,700 people who took part in the Health and Retirement Study, which is a sample of older Americans.
To find hospitalizations for venous thromboembolism, the researchers linked these
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