Impact of sex, age, race, ethnicity and aspirin use on bleeding symptoms in healthy adults

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Summary.Background:Comparing a patient's bleeding symptoms with those of healthy individuals is an important component of the diagnosis of bleeding disorders, but little is known about whether bleeding symptoms in healthy individuals vary by sex, race, ethnicity, age, or aspirin use.Objectives, Patients/Methods:We developed a comprehensive, ontology-backed, Web-based questionnaire to collect bleeding histories from 500 healthy adults. The mean age was 43 years (range 19-86 years), 63% were female, 19% were Hispanic, 37% were African-American, 43% were Caucasian, 8% were Asian, and 4% were multiracial.Results:18 of the 36 symptoms captured occurred with < 5% frequency, and 26% of participants reported no bleeding symptoms (range 0-19 symptoms). Differences in sex, race, ethnicity, aspirin use and age accounted for only 6-13% of the variability in symptoms. Although men reported fewer symptoms than women (median 1 vs. 2, P < 0.01), there was no difference when sex-specific questions were excluded (median 1 for both men and women, P = 0.50). However, women reported more easy bruising (24% vs. 7%, P < 0.01) and venipuncture-related bruising (10% vs. 3%, P = 0.02). The number of symptoms did not vary by race or age, but epistaxis was reported more frequently by Caucasians than by African-Americans (29% vs. 18%, P = 0.02), and epistaxis frequency decreased with age (odds ratio 0.97 per year, P < 0.01). Paradoxically, infrequent aspirin users reported more bruising and heavy menses than frequent users (21% vs. 8%, P = 0.01, and 56% vs. 38%, P = 0.03, respectively).Conclusions:Our findings provide a contemporaneous and comprehensive description of bleeding symptoms in a diverse group of healthy individuals. Our Web-based system is freely available to other investigators.

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