Obesity Raises Risk of Fatal Blood Clots

Author: Susan Farley

A new report verifies the link between obesity and venous thromboembolism that was established in 1927, adding that the risk is particularly strong among obese people under age 40. Investigators from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Michigan reviewed data from the 1979-1999 National Hospital Discharge Survey that included more than 12 million obese people and 700 million people who were not considered obese. They found that obese patients were 2.5 times more likely to have deep venous thrombosis (DVT) than those who were not obese; the obese group was 2.21 times more likely to experience a pulmonary embolism. The risk was greater for women than it was for men, and the poor effects of obesity were more likely to affect people under age 40; they had 5 times the risk of DVT. Obese women under age 40 had 6 times the risk of DVT, compared with nonobese women. Investigators hope these findings will raise awareness of pulmonary embolism as a possible diagnosis.

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.