Twelve tips for preventing blood clots

Papua New Guinea: The Mt. Hagan Show

Papua New Guinea: The Mt. Hagan Show

Sometimes it seems like blood clots rule my life. It was a clot that caused my stroke in 2002, precipitated by the autoimmune clotting disorder antiphospholipid syndrome (APS).

APS has a nasty tendency to “re-thrombose” — that’s the medical jargon I read, soon after my stroke, telling me  I was highly likely to have another.

My first defense is taking the blood thinner Coumadin (warfarin) — for life, all my doctors have insisted. I take their advice.

I also look for other ways to discourage blood clots. Here are twelve tips worth knowing.

12 tips for preventing blood clots:

  1. Maintain an active lifestyle and exercise regularly — daily, if possible.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Eat a healthy diet.
  4. Don’t smoke
  5. Get your blood pressure checked regularly; take steps to lower it, if necessary.
  6. Report any family or personal history of blood-clotting problems to your doctor. If, like me,  you’re at high risk, you may need to consider medications to prevent clots.
  7. Discuss alternatives to birth control pills or hormone-replacement therapy with your doctor.
  8. If you are on an airplane for more than four hours, either walk or do leg stretches in your seat. Drink lots of water while flying and avoid alcohol.
  9. If you are at special risk for clots, consider compression socks. I use them whenever I fly long distances. I found—to my great surprise—that I actually like them. I call them “happy feet.”
  10. During pregnancy, ask your doctor what you can do to help prevent clots.
  11. With your doctor, develop clot-prevention strategies for any surgical procedure that will last more than an hour.
  12. Cancer patients are especially prone to blood clots. If you have cancer, talk to your doctor about making blood clot prevention an integral part of your treatment plan.


For further information:

Seven Simple Lifestyle Steps May Decrease Risk of Blood Clots

On the alert for deep-vein blood clots 

Cancer and Blood Clots: a complicated connection