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Iron Supplements Could Help Stave Off Deep Vein Thrombosis and Other Life-Threatening Blood Clots

Research has shown that Iron supplements could be used to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and other life threatening blood clots.

The life threatening condition is often associated with long distance travel or long periods of immobility causing painful swelling, frequently in the leg, with the danger of lumps of blood dislodging and travelling to the lungs with fatal consequences.

One in every 1,000 people are affected by clots that form in the veins each year and scientists believe that the risk of these clots could be increased through lack of iron. With Iron deficiency anaemia thought to affect at least one billion people worldwide, its association with clotting may have been missed before due to the fluctuation of blood iron levels through the day.

Researchers at Imperial College London studies 609 patients with the blood vessel disease haemorrhagic telangiectasia or HHT, who as a consequence have a high risk of blood clots.
The research found that the higher risk of blood clots disappeared in participant who took Iron supplements.

As a consequence of the HHT disease, many participants suffered from low Iron levels due to excessive bleeding-a symptom of HHT.

The study was published in the journal Thorax, and found that a blood-iron level of 6 micromoles per litre compared with the normal range of 17 micromoles led to a 2.5 fold increase in venous thrombosis risk.

Lead researcher Dr Claire Shovlin, said “Our study shows that in people with HHT, low levels of iron in the blood is a potentially treatable risk factor for blood clots.
There are small studies in the general population which would support these findings, but more studies are needed to confirm this.

If the finding does apply to the general population, it would have important implications in almost every area of medicine’

Last updated: 15-12-2011