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Researchers Working to Evaluate Risk of Deadly Blood Clots

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ORLANDO, Florida - More people die from preventable blood clots than from breast cancer, aids and traffic accidents combined. And chances are, you're at risk, since about 900 thousand people get them every year in the U-S. Researchers are developing methods to evaluate an individual's risk.

Jason Fleck experienced some of his darkest days in a Florida hospital where he was treated for potentially deadly blood clotting, and was also told he cancer.

"I also had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well. One of the nurses said to me, you know, 'had you not come in when you did, um, you may not have made it another day,'" said Jason.

Jason stumbled onto the bad news when he fell off a trampoline.

"I went to see an orthopedic doctor who said there's nothing wrong with your leg, but you may have blood clotting," he said.

"It's the number one reason why you might die in a hospital," and not even know you're in danger, said John Francis, director of Florida Hospital Center thrombosis research.

Of these main risk factors, Jason had two -- cancer and a genetic blood clotting disorder.

"We know that an individual's risk is increased, but we don't know whether it's increased to the point where we need to take some medical intervention right this minute," said Francis.

Researchers are working on a new test to solve that mystery. It offers a full picture of how your blood cells and proteins work together to form a clot.

"We're measuring the production in the blood of an enzyme called Thrombin. It's really the key-too little, you bleed, too much, you clot," said Francis.

The goal is to eliminate preventable complications, so at-risk patients like Jason can plan family vacations for years to come

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