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Are Blood Clot Risks in Your Genes?

October 15, 2016

While diseases have many causes and risk factors, your family history, your genetics, is always an important risk factor to consider — particularly for common diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Your genes can also pose a potential risk for blood clots in a condition called venous thromboembolism (VTE). VTE includes blood clots in leg veins, which are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and in your lungs, pulmonary embolism (PE).

DVT usually occurs in the deep veins of the legs, where the blood clot causes pain and swelling because outflow of blood from the leg is blocked. If that blood clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it causes PE and can be fatal. Blood clots in lung arteries interfere with oxygen exchange and cause shortness of breath and chest pain with breathing, which are symptoms of PE.

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