Monday, August 16, 2010

Genetic Condition and Blood Clot

With all the blood testing I had done earlier this month, everything came back normal, except I have a genetic condition that predisposes me to getting a blood clot at 3x the rate of the general population. This condition, called factor V Leiden is the most common blood clotting disorder, according to an article I read in a magazine just today. It has been recommended that my siblings are tested for it, as it is hereditary. My doctor does think that had I not broken my foot back in 2003, I probably never would have developed the first blood clot, despite having the condition. And if I hadn't developed that first blood clot, he thinks I probably would have never gotten this one, either.

Regardless, certain factors substantially raise your risk of developing DVT-- a blood clot in the deep veins (usually the thighs or legs). These include recent elective hip or knee joint replacement surgery; broken hip, pelvis or leg within the last month; serious trauma within the last month (a fall, broken bone, car accident, etc); spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis within the last month; pregnancy or obesity; and personal or family history of blood clots or a blood clotting disorder.

I also learned from the article I read that about 600,000 people in the US are hospitalized with DVT each year, and a whopping 300,000 die from pulmonary embolisms (which can occur when a blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, like happened in my case), according to The Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis. What this means is that more people die from DVT-related complications than from breast cancer, diabetes or AIDS.

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