44 THE QUEENS COURIER • HEALTH • MAY 2, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
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5 Blood Clot Risk Factors
Blood clots can aff ect anyone and
may lead to signifi cant health problems,
but some people are at higher risk for
life-threatening blood clots.
One in four people worldwide die of
conditions caused by blood clots, also
known by the medical term “thrombosis.”
In fact, thrombosis is the third leading
vascular diagnosis aft er heart attack and
stroke, according to the American Heart
Th ere are two types of life-threatening
blood clots, also called venous thromboembolism
(VTE). Deep vein thrombosis,
or DVT, is a clot in a deep vein in the
leg, arm or other large veins. A pulmonary
embolism, or PE, occurs when a clot
breaks free and travels to the lungs, blocking
some or all of the blood supply.
Although VTE can be fatal, many, if not
most, cases are preventable. Talk with a
health care provider to understand your
risk and use this information from the
American Heart Association to understand
the circumstances that may lead to
Extended travel: Traveling longer than 8
hours, whether by plane, car, bus or train,
can increase risks for life-threatening
blood clots. Being seated for long periods
can slow blood fl ow, and high altitudes
can activate the body’s blood-clotting
system. Consider wearing compression
socks or fi nding time to stretch or
walk around when traveling to aid in
proper blood fl ow.
Estrogen-based birth control: Estrogenbased
contraceptives can increase the
risks for a life-threatening blood clot.
Risks are present whether the estrogen
is delivered into the blood stream with
pills, a patch, an injection or a vaginal
ring contraceptive. Th e risk is highest
when fi rst starting these prescriptions
as the hormonal changes can cause
blood cells to bind together more readily.
Taking estrogen contraceptives can
increase risks if you have factors such as
inherited blood-clotting disorders, a family
history of blood clots, surgery, obesity
or plans for prolonged travel.
Recent hospital stays: Roughly 50 percent
of life-threatening blood clots happen
within three months of a hospitalization,
surgery or traumatic injury,
though only one in four adults knows that
hospitalization is a risk factor for VTE.
Hospital patients at the greatest risk are
those with limited ability to move, people
with previous history of blood clots,
patients age 60 and older, people who
have abnormal blood-clotting conditions
and patients who have spent time in an
intensive care or coronary care unit.
Pregnancy and childbirth: Pregnant
women are at four times greater risk
of a life-threatening blood clot than
non-pregnant women. Th e risk increases
aft er delivery. Blood clots cause approximately
10 percent of all maternal deaths
in the United States, with pulmonary
embolism being the leading cause. Th e
blood-clotting system is activated during
pregnancy to protect the woman from
fatal bleeding during labor and delivery.
In addition, the growing baby presses on
the veins of the pelvis, slowing blood fl ow.
Other risk factors for a blood clot during
pregnancy and childbirth include inherited
blood-clotting disorders, a history
of blood clots, older age at the time of
pregnancy, obesity, cesarean delivery and
major bleeding aft er delivery.
Cancer diagnosis: Cancer patients typically
spend signifi cant time in the hospital
which oft en means they are lying still for
long periods and are more likely to have
surgery or receive chemotherapy, which
also increases risks. Cancers in bones,
ovaries, the brain or pancreas and lymph
nodes are associated with the highest
incidence of a life-threatening blood clot.
If you have concerns about your risk for
blood clots, especially if you have multiple
risk factors, consult with your health
care provider about how to lower the risk.
Learn more at heart.org/bloodclotrisk.
Courtesy Family Features
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