HEALTH: Avoiding Blood Clots

Every year, thousands of people in the UK develop a blood clot in a vein. It’s known as venous thromboembolism (VTE) and is a serious, potentially fatal, medical condition.

VTE is the collective name for:

  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot in in one of the deep veins in the body, usually in one of the legs
  • pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs
  • Although serious, most blood clots can be completely avoided. The key is to be aware if you’re at risk and take some simple preventative steps.

Who gets blood clots?

Anyone can get a blood clot, but you’re more at risk if you can’t move around much or if you’re unwell.

You’ve probably heard of blood clots linked to long-haul plane journeys or the contraceptive pill, but most blood clots actually develop during or just after a stay in hospital.

Your risk is also increased if you:

  • are over 60 years old
  • are overweight or obese
  • have had a blood clot before
  • are having hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • are pregnant or have recently given birth
  • are dehydrated
  • have cancer or are having cancer treatment
  • have a condition that causes your blood to clot more easily than normal, such as antiphospholipid syndrome

For more on blood clots and specifically how to lower your risk when in hospital, visit the NHS website.