Blood Clot Risks

I had no idea that I could be at risk for blood clots. If I had known I could be at risk, perhaps my blood clots could have been prevented. I was at risk for blood clots because I had an unknown autoimmune clotting condition called antiphospholipid syndrome, and I was taking estrogen-based birth control at the time of my blood clots.

Blood clots can and do happen to anyone, and it is important to know your blood clot risk. Learning your risk is also one of the best things you can do to prevent blood clots. Talk to your family about whether or not blood clots are a risk in your family. Talk to your doctor about your specific risk for blood clots, and discuss whether or not you need a plan to prevent blood clots.

You are at increased risk for a blood clot if:
  • You or a family member have had a blood clot before
  • You have had recent surgery, or have been hospitalized 
  • You have an inherited or acquired blood clotting condition
  • You have cancer, or are undergoing treatments for cancer
  • You are immobile for a long time (confined to bed, long-duration plane or car trip with little to no movement)
  • You are pregnant, or have recently given birth
  • You use estrogen-based birth control pills, or estrogen for the treatment of menopause symptoms
More Blood Clot Risk Factors:
  • Hospital stay or major surgery, especially abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • Total knee or hip replacement surgery
  • Major trauma, such as an automobile accident
  • Injury to a vein that may have been caused by a broken bone or muscle injury
  • Immobility, such as confinement to a bed or a wheelchair
  • Estrogen-based birth control pills, patch or ring
  • Treatment of menopause symptoms with estrogen
  • Pregnancy, or the recent birth of a child
  • Prior blood clot or family history of blood clots
  • A genetic or acquired blood clotting disorder
  • Cancer and some cancer treatments
  • Some heart and lung conditions, and diabetes
  • Sitting for long periods of time, such as at a desk or for extended travel, especially with crossed legs
  • Obesity, or overweight
  • Smoking
  • 55 years of age, or older