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Preventing Blood Clots

When a blood clot forms in a vein (deep vein thrombosis) or your lung (pulmonary embolism) it can be very serious, even deadly.

Who is at risk?
People who sit still or have to lie down for long periods are more likely to have DVT. This includes:

  • People who travel often, especially on long flights or car/bus rides
  • People who are older than 40
  • Women who take birth control pills
  • People in the hospital for surgery or who are confined to their bed for more than two  days
  • Women who are pregnant or have just had a baby
  • People who have had a stroke
  • People who are receiving treatment for cancer
  • People who’ve broken a leg or another bone
  • People who’ve had a blood clot in the past
  • People with a history of a clotting disorder

What are the Signs?
People who may have a blood clot in a vein might feel or see:

  • Leg cramping or skin that is tender to a light touch
  • Swelling
  • Warm skin
  • Redness of the skin
  • Pain near the vein
  • A vein that looks blue

People who may have a blood clot in the lungs may:

  • Have a hard time breathing
  • Feel chest pains
  • Feel light headed
  • Feel their heart beating hard or fast
  • Cough up blood

How do I Prevent Blood Clots?

  • During long flights or car rides
    • Get up and walk around once per hour
    • Flex your feet or squeeze your toes for 15 seconds every hour
    • Wear compression stockings
  • Take blood thinners prescribed by your doctor
  • Use an injectable blood thinner or mechanical compression stocking while you’re in the hospital.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Quit smoking