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Deciphered the role of platelets in the development of thrombosis
In Germany alone, around 100,000 people die each year as a result of venous thrombosis. People with enlarged platelets (blood platelets) have an increased risk of thrombosis and cardiovascular diseases. A new study has now shown what affects platelet volume.
100,000 Germans die each year from the consequences of thrombosis
According to the German Society for Angiology / Society for Vascular Medicine (DGA), the number of thromboses and the associated complications in the form of pulmonary embolism has increased in recent years. Undetected thrombosis quickly becomes a life-threatening condition. In Germany alone, an estimated 100,000 people die as a result of venous thrombosis.
Blood clot clogs the vessel
With thrombosis, a blood clot (thrombus) forms, which can narrow a vessel or completely block it. If the blood clot is washed into the lungs with the blood stream, it can block blood vessels there and cause pulmonary embolism, which is often fatal. Blood clots can also cause a heart attack or stroke, as well as other circulatory disorders.
Old age as the main risk factor
Age is the main risk factor for thrombosis. According to health experts, the risk increases significantly from the age of 60. People with varicose veins, lung or heart disease as well as smokers and overweight people also have an increased risk of thrombosis. In addition, it is known that a lack of exercise such as after a long period of bed rest and also hormonal changes such as during pregnancy or due to the birth control pill result in an increased risk of thrombosis.
Genetic as well as non-genetic factors
People with enlarged platelets, known as platelets in technical terms, have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and thrombosis. A study carried out at the Medical University of Mainz has now shown what affects platelet volume. "The cause of an increased platelet volume are both genetic and non-genetic factors," says a statement from the university.
In her work, Dr. Marina Panova-Noeva from the Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH) analyzes the known genetic and non-genetic factors that determine the mean platelet volume (MPV). At the same time, the researcher discovered gender-specific differences in the influencing factors of the MPV. The basis for the study was data from the Gutenberg health study, in which the health status of around 15,000 subjects aged 35 to 74 years was examined over a period of five years.
Contraceptives and menstruation affect platelet volume
The results of the analysis, which were published in the journal "Blood", show that age, cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure as well as high blood sugar in men are associated with a higher average platelet volume.
For women, on the other hand, oral contraceptives and menstruation could be determined as influencing factors on the volume of platelets. In addition, the existing assumption that an increased platelet size was associated with increased mortality could be confirmed for study participants of male sex. "Such a connection could not be established for female subjects," says the report.
Marker for risk assessment of vascular occlusive diseases
Giuseppe Lippi, professor at the University of Verona, confirmed in a comment to the CTH scientists that they have brought out "new and important insights into platelet biology and its relationship to thrombosis".
Prof. Dr. Philipp Wild, one of the senior authors of the publication, is also convinced of the importance of the study: “The data confirm the potential of a marker that has so far been insignificant in everyday clinical practice and expand our knowledge of its clinical role. The results give hope that the platelet volume can be used as a marker for risk assessment of thrombotic diseases. ”(Ad)