Blood Clots Can Affect Anyone, At Any Age

Know your risk, lower your risk

Often when we think of vascular disease, we think about the conditions that affect older people. However, there are types of vascular conditions that can affect anyone, at any age. One example is thrombosis – clotting that leads to the blockage of blood vessels. Thrombosis can affect young adults, persons who are pregnant, or people who are on certain kinds of medication – it’s a risk that everyone should be aware of.

What are Venous Thromboembolisms? 

First, a quick refresher on thrombosis. The word “thrombo” is Latin for “clot.” The blood clotting process is normal and it protects our bodies from excess bleeding. But sometimes, blood clots form due to genetics or certain diseases, and may travel through your body and clog a blood vessel. When this happens, clots can stop normal blood flow and can cause problems like heart attacks or strokes.

What is a blood clot?

Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) is a term that refers to blood clots in the veins. There are two types of VTEs: a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and a Pulmonary Embolism. A DVT is a blood clot that forms deep inside the leg. When a DVT breaks loose, it can travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism (which is a medical emergency). VTEs are more common than you think – it affects close to a million Americans each year! While VTE is common, there are still a lot of people who don’t know about it. It’s important to put a spotlight on this vascular condition so that as more people become aware, they can learn how to prevent it or know when to take action.

Who is at-risk?

VTE has many risk factors, and while older age is one of them, there are other risks that most people don’t know about. Take a look at the list below, from the CDC – it’s very possible that you or someone you know is at a higher risk for VTEs, for example:

    • People who are pregnant can experience up to 5 times the risk of a VTE compared to non-pregnant people
    • About 50% of blood clots are related to hospital stays, especially after surgery or an acute (or sudden) medical illness. The higher risk for blood clots is due to being inactive or being on bedrest.
    • Cancer can also be a risk factor, and many cancers affect people of any age group (children, teenagers, young adults, and middle-aged adults)
    • Certain medications or treatments, including birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, can increase risk of VTEs regardless of age or gender.

What’s next? 

For information on symptoms, treatment, and how you can lower your risk of blood clotting conditions, check out our blood clot landing page at https://vascularcures.org/2022/03/24/what-are-blood-clots/. Read more about one of our patient Partner’s experiences with blood clotting here: https://vascularcures.org/2022/03/28/how-to-know-if-you-have-a-blood-clot/.

Share this post with friends and family to help them learn about their risk for blood clots, and how to take action to prevent them. 

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider

One of the most important things to consider is that it’s hard to understand your risk for clots without talking to your health care provider. They will be able to tell you about your risk in detail, since they know what pre-existing conditions you have, what medications you’re taking, and what your surgical history looks like. Screening is important, and early detection of a clotting risk could save your life. Be sure to talk to your provider regularly about your risk for blood clots, especially if you’re over the age of 50.  

Note: this blogpost was developed through a generous grant from Inari Medical.