September 16, 2008

American Society of Hematology Launches New Campaign to Educate Consumers on Vital Connection Between Blood and Personal Health

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In conjunction with its 50th anniversary, the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the world's largest professional society of blood specialists, today launched a new public education campaign, Blood: The Vital Connection, with the goal of helping health-care consumers understand the important role of blood in overall health. As part of this effort, ASH has developed the Blood: The Vital Connection Web site, a credible online resource addressing disorders of the blood, including bleeding and clotting disorders, anemia, and cancer, as well as how specific populations of people, such as women, are affected by these conditions.

"Your blood has many different functions that are crucial to being healthy, including carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, warding off infection, and protecting against excessive bleeding or clotting. Blood is the window to the body -- from one vial of blood your doctor will know if you are pregnant or if you have anemia or any other number of blood diseases," said Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, ASH President. "We want people to make the connection between their blood and total wellness."

Blood: The Vital Connection provides hematologist-approved information about common blood conditions, risk factors, preventive measures, and treatment options. The informative Web site includes helpful tips that answer questions such as:

-- What is anemia and am I at risk? Anemia is one of the most common blood disorders that affects more than 3 million Americans according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Blood: The Vital Connection provides information on sickle cell anemia, an inherited disease that disproportionately affects African Americans (one in 12 carry the sickle cell gene), and on anemia in the older population (almost 10 percent is currently anemic), amongst many other disorders.

-- How does flying or sitting for long periods affect my blood health? Lack of physical movement increases your risk of deep-vein thrombosis, which occurs when a blood clot forms in the leg. This clot can detach and travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. Visit Blood: The Vital Connection to learn prevention strategies for this potentially fatal condition.

-- Why should women in particular pay close attention to their blood health? According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than 2.5 million women in the U.S. have bleeding disorders, such as von Willebrand disease, but are unaware of it. In addition, women who are pregnant are at higher risk for having anemia and a blood clotting disorder. Blood: The Vital Connection arms women with the information they need about these conditions.

-- What should I know about blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma? Blood: The Vital Connection provides information on risk factors and treatments for these blood cancers, as well as tips for navigating clinical trials.

-- What should I do if I think I may have a blood condition? You should talk with your primary care physician. Blood: The Vital Connection provides a list of suggested questions to ask during your visit, as well as a feature that allows you to search for a hematologist in your area if your doctor thinks you should see a blood specialist.

Blood: the Vital Connection also provides information for consumers on participating in clinical trials and links to the latest research. Health-care providers who visit the site can access printable resources that help explain common blood conditions for easy distribution to patients. In addition, the site includes a career resources section for medical students who want to learn more about the field.

Survey Reveals Low Awareness of Hematology, Blood Conditions, and Health Risks

ASH's new public education campaign was launched in part to respond to the results of a recent national survey that indicated a serious lack of awareness of common blood disorders among the majority of Americans. Most participants polled were unable to name common blood conditions such as anemia, blood clotting, hemophilia, and deep-vein thrombosis. Additionally, only one in five people correctly answered that a hematologist is the type of specialist who treats blood disorders; similarly, only one in five could define hematology.

About the Survey

The omnibus phone survey was conducted Nov. 8-11, 2007. A random sampling of 1,013 adults, 18 years of age and older was surveyed, thus yielding an overall margin of error of +/- 2-3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. Overall, respondents represent the four regions of the United States. Demographic factors such as age and gender were quota controlled and slight weights were applied to reflect the general population.

About the American Society of Hematology

The American Society of Hematology ( is the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems, by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology.

American Society of Hematology

CONTACT: Becka Livesay of American Society of Hematology,+1-202-776-0544, ext. 6063, [email protected]

Web site: