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VTE and Strokes: A Family Connection

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

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These hereditary factors are helpful in determining the risk of VTE in men and women between the ages of 10 and 69. Those families with a history of VTE have a strong genetic link to occurrences of the disorder in siblings.

In a person between the ages of 10 and 19, if a sibling does have VTE issues, the risk of developing it is nearly five times greater than in those without a sibling history of the disorder. In the older population of ages 60 to 69, the risk is twice as much than when younger.

Women have a higher occurrence of VTE, especially between the ages of 10 to 40, when a sibling already has been diagnosed. The rate becomes higher for men over the age of 50.

The Swedish researchers found that most of the familial risk of increased VTE occurrence was from genetics, not environmental factors. This information is useful to medical professionals, especially when performing a procedure on someone who may have a higher risk of clotting due to a sibling’s history.


There are a number of ways to help prevent VTE from occurring or limit the severity of the disorder:

  • Early mobilization after surgery
  • Sit with legs together rather than crossed
  • Keep mobile
  • Weight management
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid tight clothing
  • Use of graduated compression stockings
  • Use of venous foot pumps, and
  • Use of blood-thinning drugs (usually anticoagulant drugs).

When faced with a chance of having VTE, the first thing is to confirm the diagnosis, then decide on treatment, as well as self-management. The Swedish may have found a familial connection, but there are healthy lifestyle tips anyone can implement to make the threat of blood clots less likely to occur in the first place.


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