Dallas, Texas (NAPSI) - Every year, up to 600,000 Americans develop blood clots in the veins of their legs or lungs. Risk factors for these clots vary, but most frequently involve surgery, hospital stays of three or more days, hip and knee replacement, cancer and cancer treatment, a family history of blood clots, or disorders that simply cause their blood to clot too much.

Blood clots that form in the legs or lungs are responsible for about 100,000 deaths annually. Fortunately, the use of blood thinning medications, also known as anti-coagulants, stops clots from forming and can mean the difference between life and death. Surprisingly, some people at risk may not be given these medications or may not take them as prescribed.

“You should discuss the prevention of blood clots with your doctor, particularly if you’re hospitalized or having surgery,” explains Gary Raskob, PhD, Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma, and Chair of the Medical & Scientific Advisory Board of the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA). “If you take a blood thinner, talk to your doctor about any concerns or problems you have, and get clear instruction to help you take the medication properly.”

According to Dr. Raskob, blood thinning medications like warfarin have been prescribed for decades. These older therapies require routine blood tests and can interact with other medications and certain foods. Newer blood thinning medications introduced in recent years don’t require blood testing, have fewer drug interactions and can be taken without special dietary considerations. Both older and newer blood thinners effectively prevent or slow the formation of dangerous blood clots.

For more information, visit the NBCA website at www.stoptheclot.org.