Doctors say leg pain can signal deadly blood clot

WASHINGTON (AP) -- There's a new effort to get people to recognize when a major emergency is on their hands, even when they and their doctors think it's just a minor pain.

Acting Surgeon General Dr. Steven Galson says blood clots can be "silent" killers that often and easily go undetected. It's estimated that between 350,000 and 600,000 Americans get one every year, and at least 100,000 of those patients die.

There are several risk factors and triggers. Symptoms include swelling and pain, especially in the calf, or a warm spot or red or discolored skin on the leg.

Vice President Cheney suffered a clot last year after a long plane trip. And NBC correspondent David Bloom was killed by a blood clot after spending days inside a cramped tank during the Iraq invasion.

Genetic conditions can increase the risk even more.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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