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What are some facts about the blood condition called factor V Leiden?

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Quick Answer

Factor V Leiden is a condition that increases the chances of blood clots developing, generally in the veins, due to a mutation of the blood factor V, notes Mayo Clinic. Most people with the condition never develop abnormal blood clots; however, those who do may also suffer from related health problems that can be life-threatening.

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Full Answer

People with factor V Leiden inherited a defective gene from one or both parents that inhibits the body's ability to break up blood factor V, leading to unnecessary clot formation, states Mayo Clinic. Men and women can suffer from factor V Leiden, though women who are taking estrogen or are pregnant have a higher risk of developing blood clots. While most people who have factor V Leiden never exhibit symptoms, the condition can lead to serious complications depending on where clots form and where they travel in the body. Pain, swelling, redness and warmth may be signs of a clot in a deep vein, known as deep vein thrombosis.

Warmth, redness and tenderness or pain in the area around a blood clot in a vein are signs of a superficial venous thrombosis, also called phlebitis or thrombophlebitis, according to Mayo Clinic. People with factor V Leiden may also suffer from blood clots that travel to the lungs, called pulmonary embolisms. Sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, cough with bloody sputum and rapid heartbeat are symptoms of pulmonary embolism, and people displaying these symptoms should get medical attention immediately, as these types of clots can cause death.

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