Blood Clotting: What Are They, How Do They Happen

Blood clotting does happen to athletes, believe it or not.  New research suggests that athletes, especially those who do endurance events like marathons, could get blood clotting more often. They travel far, can suffer dehydration and injury. In addition, blood clotting  symptoms are easy to mistake for sports-related issues. Look for swelling, unexpected bruises, or a stabbing pain in your arm, leg, or chest.

blood clotting


Blood Clotting: Risks

Major surgery involving the abdomen, pelvis, hips, or legs increases the risk for blood clotting since large veins will be injured during the operation. Therefore, before surgery, blood thinner medication may be necessary.

Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and IBS can double and triple the normal risk.  People with these conditions are more likely to be dehydrated, go on bed rest, or need surgery. The inflammation that causes bowel diseases may also contribute.

Low Vitamin D

Vitamin D levels are low in people with a blood clotting. Adults need 600 to 800 IU of the vitamin per day. You can get it from salmon, tuna, cheese, and egg yolks. Or spend up to 30 minutes in the sun twice a week. Remember to put on a good sunscreen.

Hormone Therapy And Blood Clotting

Men and women taking hormone replacement therapy are at higher risk to develop clotting.

Cancer And Blood Clotting

Tumors can cause tissue damage and release chemicals that trigger clotting. Cancers of the brain, colon, lung, kidney, ovary, pancreas, and stomach have the highest rates of blood clots. In addition, clots are a common side effect of lymphomas, leukemia, and liver cancer. Especially relevant, some types of chemotherapy also make clots more likely. During chemo, wear compression stockings and stay as active as possible.


Carrying extra weight, especially around your gut, puts extra pressure on the veins in your pelvis and legs, which can double your risk of clotting. Moreover, If your body mass index (BMI) is 25 and higher, and you’re also taking hormonal birth control pills, your risk goes up tenfold.  Proper nutrition and regular exercise is the best defense against a blood clot.

Pregnancy And Blood Clotting

A baby also puts extra pressure on the veins in your pelvis and legs. And you’re still at risk for up to 6 weeks after you give birth. The risk increases if you’re obese, over age 35, pregnant with twins, have a family history of blood clots, or have been on bed rest. Lower your risk by staying active throughout your pregnancy.

Premature Birth

Defined as born before 37 weeks. The more premature your birth, the higher your risk throughout your life. Scientists currently don’t know exactly why, but just remember to let your doctor know.



Learn the risk and symptoms associated with blood clotting. You can control your weight, diet, and exercise which can reduce your risk for clotting. Be vigilant, stay safe.

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