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Body Fat Distribution Affects Risk for Blood Clotting Problems


Obesity is a known risk factor for two types of blood clotting problems – deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, and pulmonary embolism. A new study from Denmark found that where the weight is carried on the body makes a difference in the severity of the risk.

Dr. Marianne Tang Severinson of Aarhus University Hospital used the Danish National Patient Registry from the “Diet, Cancer, and Health” prospective study that included 641 venous thromboembolic events over a period of 10 years.

A DVT is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein, typically in the lower extremities. A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that breaks loose and travels to the lungs. The risk of having one of these two conditions is increased by 3 to 6 times in obesity.

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For men, every 5 centimeter increase in waist circumference was associated with about an 18% increased risk of DVT and pulmonary embolism. This type of body fat distribution is known as central obesity or apple shape.

For women, the risk was increased 21% when weight was concentrated in the hip and thigh regions. Carrying weight lower on the body is also known as peripheral obesity, or pear shape. It had previously been suggested that increased hip circumference was more protective against blood clots.

Other factors that affect risk for deep vein thrombosis are elevated triglycerides and total cholesterol, inactivity, and smoking.

According to investigators for the Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Impact Assessment Group, almost 1 million instances of thromboembolic events occur each year in the United States. Pulmonary embolism claims up to 300,000 lives annually and is the third most common acute cardiovascular event diagnosed.

Sources Include: Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, LipidsOnline, ClotCare Online Resource



Interesting story. The more we know about our risk factors, the better. Thank you for the important warning about blood clots.