Top 10 Risk Factors for Developing a Deep Vein Clot

As blood clots go, a deep vein clot (DVT) is particularly worrisome. They’re very serious but often underdiagnosed. A DVT usually occurs in the lower leg, thigh or pelvis. If a piece of the clot break offs and travels in the bloodstream to the lungs, it can cause damage to the lungs or even result in death. This is called a pulmonary embolism.

A DVT can also damage the valves in the veins and result in a condition called post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). Its symptoms include leg swelling, discoloration and ulcers, and pain. PTS can strip people of their ability to walk and earn a living. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of the people who have a DVT will go on to develop PTS.

If you have one or more of the factors below you may be at risk for a DVT:

  • History of DVT
  • Genetic blood-clotting disorder
  • Use birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • Pregnant or six weeks post-partum
  • Overweight or obese
  • Confined to bed rest or have limited movement
  • Injury to a deep vein
  • Smoke
  • Cancer
  • Age 60 or older (risk increases with age)