July 27, 2016

Blood Clots

What are the risk factors for blood clots?

The risk factors for arterial clots are those that are common to all diseases that cause narrowing of blood vessels, cholesterol plaque formation, and plaque rupture.

Blood clots in the veins are formed due to one of two main reasons: 1) immobility, and 2) genetic errors in the clotting mechanism. There are other associated risk factors including smoking and the use of birth control pills.

  1. Immobility: Commonly, when the body stops moving, the risk of blood clots increases since muscle movement is required to pump blood toward the heart. Stagnant blood in a vein is prone to clot. Examples of how blood clots may occur from immobility include
  • a person being hospitalized or bedridden after illness or surgery;
  • a person who takes long trips (such as in a car, train, or plane), when hours may pass without standing to move, walk, or stretch (blood pools in the leg veins and may potentially clot);
  • a person who suffers orthopedic injuries and/or has casts placed over broken bones or limbs;
  • a person undergoing knee or hip replacement; and
  • a woman who becomes pregnant; pregnancy is a risk factor for forming blood clots in the legs and pelvis, due to insufficient blood flow back to the heart.
  1. Genetic errors in the clotting mechanism: There may be a genetic or inborn error in the clotting mechanism, making a person hypercoagulable (hyper=more + coagulation= clotting) and at greater risk for forming clots. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 4/27/2016
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