Thrombophilia is a group of medical conditions that cause people to form blood clots. Generally, people with thrombophilia either have an overload of proteins that cause the blood to clot or too few proteins working as anti-clotting agents. It may be due to a genetic disorder, such as the Factor V Leiden mutation. It may also be acquired or caused by another factor, such as pregnancy, cancer, pharmaceutical drugs, obesity, or other illnesses. People around the globe are affected by this disorder, and although it may be treated, there is not a cure for it.
The symptoms of thrombophilia are wide ranging. Some people report no symptoms at all, while others experience blood clots. The blood clots are commonly found in the veins of lower legs and called deep vein thrombosis. Another potentially fatal symptom of the condition is seen when a blood clot moves to other organs in the body. For example, it may move and settle in the lungs, heart, or brain, and the result may be a deadly embolism, heart attack, or stroke.
People of any age, including children, may suffer from thrombophilia. Although women and men are both affected, the symptoms — particularly deep vein thrombosis — seem to show up in women who are pregnant or using hormones. There are blood tests available to determine whether a person has thrombophilia. These tests are typically done if a person has a genetic predisposition to the disease or if the person has had repeated blood clots.
Anti-clotting or blood thinning drugs are typically prescribed to people suffering from blood clots due to thrombophilia. People who have the condition but who have not developed any clots may not be prescribed any medication. In the alternative, some people may be prescribed drugs as a precaution, which often occurs in the case of pregnant women. This is especially true since blood clots can cause serious complications in pregnancy, including miscarriage and early delivery of the baby.
People prone to blood clots caused by thrombophilia can do some things to lower the chance that clots will form. For example, refraining from sitting in one position for hours at a time may help prevent clots. In addition, wear clothing that is not restrictive and exercise on a regular basis. Additionally, people who are obese and suffering from clots should attempt to lose weight, and people who smoke should quit smoking.
As with many medical conditions, any questions or concerns regarding thrombophilia should be addressed immediately by a medical doctor. If medication is prescribed, it is important to read all information regarding side effects and negative drug interactions; some drugs should not be used in conjunction with supplements.