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Deep Vein Thrombosis - What Increases Your Risk

Many things increase your risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These include:

  • Being older than 40.
  • Being overweight.
  • Not taking anticoagulant medicine as prescribed.

Other risks include things that cause slowed blood flow, abnormal clotting, and a blood vessel injury.

Recommended Related to DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

DVT Dangers and How to Prevent Them

The greatest danger from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is that the clot will break loose, travel through your blood, and damage an organ. "The place it gets stuck most commonly is the lungs, and that's called a pulmonary embolism (PE)," says Molly Cooke, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco. Less often, another clot can form and travel to the brain and cause a stroke. If a clot travels to the heart, it could cause a heart attack. A clot in the kidneys can cause kidney failure. Depending...

Read the DVT Dangers and How to Prevent Them article > >

Slowed blood flow

Blood does not flow normally if you are not active for long periods of time. Examples include:

  • Long-term bed rest, such as after a surgery, injury, or serious illness.
  • Sitting for a long time, especially when traveling long distances.
  • Leg paralysis.

Abnormal clotting

Some people have blood that clots too easily or too quickly. Problems that may cause increased clotting include:

  • Inherited blood-clotting problems.
  • Family history of close relatives, such as a sibling, who has had deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism.
  • Cancer and its treatment.
  • Blood vessel diseases, such as varicose veins, heart attack, heart failure, or a stroke.
  • Pregnancy. A woman's risk for developing blood clots increases both during pregnancy and shortly after delivery or after a cesarean section.
  • Using hormone therapy or birth control pills or patches.
  • Smoking.

Injury to the blood vessel wall

Blood is more likely to clot in veins shortly after they are injured. Examples include:

  • Recent surgery that involved the legs, hips, belly, or brain.
  • Having a central venous catheter during a hospital stay.
  • Injury, such as a broken hip.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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