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What increases my risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

There are many risk factors for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), including genetics, inactivity (walking less than 1/4 mile a day) and hormone therapy (estrogen or testosterone). Other risk factors include smoking, cancer and surgeries, especially orthopedic and abdominal.

The risks of deep vein thrombosis include injury, clotting and improper blood flow.

Some people are more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) than others. Several lifestyle and medical factors affect a person's individual risk of developing DVT. The more DVT risk factors a person has, the greater the danger that he or she will develop the condition.

Most of the major risk areas for developing DVT relate to the causes of DVT -- namely, conditions that increase blood clotting, cause prolonged immobility, or cause damage to tissues. Examples include:

  • prolonged bed rest (72 consecutive hours)
  • family or personal history of DVT or pulmonary embolism
  • hip replacement surgery
  • spinal cord injury or paralysis
  • stroke
  • broken bones below the waist

Although DVT can occur at any age, advanced age does increase a person's risk of developing DVT. People age 40 or older have a higher risk than people under age 40. Being over age 60 increases risk even more.

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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.