How can I lower my risk for blood clots?

There are many ways people can help lower their risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and blood clots, such as living an active life and making other healthy lifestyle choices.

For people who have risk factors for DVT, or who anticipate undergoing procedures or experiencing conditions that may elevate their risk, they should follow the preventive guidelines as directed by their healthcare providers. For example, a doctor may recommend anticoagulant therapy and compression stockings -- two therapies used to treat DVT -- to help prevent blood clots in people who are at high risk for developing DVT, such as patients undergoing certain surgical procedures or people who have suffered a traumatic injury or stroke.

Many of the same strategies used to treat an existing blood clot may help prevent the formation of a new one.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A blood clot can threaten any part of your body: your heart, lungs, digestive system. Hence, it’s important for you to inform yourself of this threat and work to lower your risk of dying from this silent killer:
  • Stay hydrated, especially when sick. Drink at least eight glasses of water or juice per day -- especially when you’re sick. Your body loses a lot of water through vomiting, sweat, or diarrhea while you’re sick, and it’s up to you to replenish your body’s supply.
  • Get examined, especially if you injure your head. This applies especially to the elderly, but also to young athletes. One common danger are hemorrhages that arise when blood vessels are inadvertently torn during head trauma or car accidents. See a doctor if you feel worsening headaches, if you’re vomiting, if you feel confused or disoriented, or if you lost consciousness right after experiencing trauma to the head. It could save your life.
  • Stay active, especially during flights or long drives. A much more common place for blood clots to form is in the legs -- and they are just as deadly. That clot, also known as a deep venous thrombus, can travel to your lungs and cause a deadly pulmonary embolism. Try to walk as frequently as possible if you normally sit for long periods of time at work. On long flights or drives, try to move your legs by walking as frequently as possible. You can also wear compression stockings, which reduce your risk of thrombus formation.
  • Keep your cholesterol down. Some dangerous blockages in your blood vessels aren’t clots, but cholesterol-filled plaques that can increase turbulence, halt the flow of blood, or trigger a blood clot. This is how heart attacks happen -- remember Rosie O’Donnell’s 90% blockage of an important blood vessel called “the widowmaker”? Knowing your cholesterol levels is vital to your health. Get it checked, and if it’s too high, work on lowering it by changing your diet, exercising, and possibly taking cholesterol-lowering medication.

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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.