Myths and Fact About Blood Clots

Blood clots, also called venous thromboembolism or VTE, are solid or gel-like masses of blood that form inside your veins. They are beneficial when they develop to clot an open wound or cut and prevent you from losing too much blood. 

But when they form in the absence of an injury, they can block blood flow, which can lead to tissue damage, pain, and even death.

There are two types of blood clots: thrombosis and embolism. 

A thrombosis, sometimes called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), forms in deep veins in your body, usually the lower leg, thigh, or pelvis. When a DVT forms, it doesn’t move. 

An embolism, or pulmonary embolism (PE), is a clot that breaks away from a bigger clot and moves through your blood vessels to other parts of your body, usually your lungs or brain.  

At Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center, our team of vascular surgeons are experts at diagnosing and treating all types of blood clots. Here they share some common misconceptions about blood clots and what you need to know.

Myth: Blood clots only happen to older people

Fact: While older people are at higher risk of developing blood clots, people of all ages can develop one. In fact, pregnancy, smoking, and obesity also put you at a higher risk of developing blood clots than the general public.  

Myth: You don’t have to worry about clots if you’re healthy and exercise

Fact: Some health conditions do raise your risk of blood clots, such as autoimmune disorders and chronic inflammatory disease, but anyone of any age and health condition can develop a blood clot. 

About 900,000 people develop blood clots every year, and up to 100,000 die of an embolism.

Myth: Birth control medications cause blood clots

Fact: Birth control pills contain estrogen, which can raise your risk. But the majority of women who take birth control medications do not develop a blood clot. 

If you smoke, are obese, and are over 40 while taking birth control medications, your risk goes up. The more risk factors, the higher the risk. 

Myth: Most blood clots happen while traveling or at home

Fact: One of the risk factors for blood clots is sitting in one place, or being immobile, such as when on bedrest or traveling on a long airplane flight. Yet the truth is that more than half of all blood clots occur in the hospital.   

What can I do to reduce my risk of developing a blood clot?

In addition to the risks mentioned above, other factors that raise your risk of developing a blood clot include having a family history of blood clots and having cancer. 

The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk. Know your risk factors and take steps to manage the ones you can to reduce your risk. Here are ways to lower your risk:

As for the factors you can’t control, such as your age and family history, it helps to know the signs of blood clots so you can seek treatment immediately. Here are some of the signs:

Do you think you have a blood clot or are at risk of developing one? Call us for an appointment with our vascular experts at Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center or schedule one using our online tool. We have offices in Port Jefferson Station, Hauppauge, and Riverhead, New York.

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