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What causes protein C deficiency?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
About one in 300 people have a mild deficiency of protein C, a blood chemical that helps prevent clotting. People who don't have enough protein C are more vulnerable to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a clot in a deep vein that can be life-threatening if it causes a stroke or goes to the lungs.

A genetic mutation causes this deficiency, and it's usually inherited. When a family member is diagnosed with protein C deficiency, other family members can be tested for the mutation (it's in the PROC gene). They should also be tested for clotting speed and protein C levels.

The outlook for people with mild protein C deficiency is good. If they do have a DVT, they'll need to go on blood-thinning drugs for a few months and be cautious about anything that increases the risk of clots (like sitting still for long periods of time).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.