A 20-year-old smoker. A 30-year-old pregnant woman. A 40-year-old professional. Now you may be wondering just what these different types of people have in common? If the title wasn’t a giveaway, these are just a few of the different types of people that have an increased risk for developing a blood clot.
The scary truth is you don’t have to be recovering from a major surgery, have heart disease or a family history of blood clots to be at risk. In fact, there are many common factors that can put you at risk—even if you live an overall healthy lifestyle.
So, if blood clots are so common (affecting upwards of 900,000 people annually) why don’t we hear more about them? Chances are it’s because they often go by one of these other names—heart attack, stroke, pulmonaryembolism and deep vein thrombosis—all of which are caused by blood clots.
While there’s a lot to learn about blood clots, let’s start with some of the most common and most likely people to get one—and what you should do if you fall into one or more of these categories:
1. People who are overweight. Excess weight strains your body in more ways than one, including your cardiovascular system. Yet another reason for this increased risk is due the fact that excess weight and a lack of exercise usually go hand-in-hand, both of which amplify your risk for a blood clot.
2. People who smoke. Perhaps this doesn’t come as a surprise, considering that smoking impacts almost every system in your body. In addition to your lungs, smoking also causes damage to your blood vessels, which increases your risk of developing a blood clot.
3. Pregnant women. Unfortunately, even if you do everything you can to ensure a healthy pregnancy, that little bundle of joy—and increased hormone levels—can impact your bloodstream. And don’t forget that as the baby grows, so does the pressure on your blood vessels.
4. Oral contraceptive takers. This may be one of the most notable types of people to identify as experts estimate that contraceptives can actually increase a woman’s risk of developing a blood clot by 3 to 4 times.
5. People who are sedentary. Now before you assume that just because you sit all day at your desk that you’re at an increased risk for a blood clot, it’s important to clarify that this typically applies to individuals who haven’t moved in days or weeks (e.g., post-surgery or injury recovery). However, sitting for hours on end (day after day) and not staying hydrated can increase your risk.
6. People with infections (or other inflammatory conditions). When you’re dealing with a condition like cancer, diabetes, Crohn’s disease or colitis, the last think you want to worry about is a blood clot forming. However, due to different treatments and inflammation, this can increase your risk.
If you’re at an increased risk, what should you do?
One of the scariest parts of blood clots is the uncertainty. They can form in almost anyone at any time. That’s why the specialists of Gwinnett Medical Group Cardiologyare prepared to help you—and your heart at every stage of life. Whether you’re seeking answers to questions and preventative care or diagnostics and customized treatment options, GMG Cardiologyis always prepared to help.