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What is Hereditary Thrombophilia?
Hereditary thrombophilia is a predisposition to developing harmful blood clots. These harmful blood clots most commonly form in the legs and can travel to the lungs.
A blood clot is a clump of blood that has become a somewhat solid mass. Blood clots usually form to stop bleeding after an injury. A harmful blood clot is a clot that forms where it should not, obstructing blood flow to vital tissues. These harmful blood clots are generally known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). When they form in the legs, the condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When they travel to the lungs, the condition is known as pulmonary embolism (PE).
Genetics of Hereditary Thrombophilia
Hereditary thrombophilia is genetic. The two most common genetic variants (differences) linked to hereditary thrombophilia are found in two genes, called F5 and F2. These genes are important in the normal clotting process. But the F5 variant (sometimes called factor V Leiden) and the F2 variant increase the risk of developing blood clots that can block blood flow to certain parts of the body.
Other factors can increase the chances of developing harmful blood clots.
- Major surgery
- Long periods of not moving, such as long-distance travel or being bedridden
- Women using oral contraceptives containing estrogen are at an increased risk for harmful blood clots
Harmful blood clots impact many people
It's estimated that up to 100,000 people die in the U.S. each year from blood clots. That's more than 250 people per day.
Are blood clots preventable?
Harmful blood clots can often be prevented. Understanding if you may be at increased risk and addressing risk factors that are within your control can lower the chances of developing these blood clots.
You can find out whether you may be at increased risk of developing harmful blood clots based on your genetics through 23andMe's Hereditary Thrombophilia Genetic Health Risk report*. This report includes the two most common genetic variants linked to hereditary thrombophilia. The Hereditary Thrombophilia Genetic Health Risk report is available through the 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service.