To prevent blood clots, maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, exercise on a regular basis and avoid sitting still for extended periods of time, advises Mayo Clinic. During car travel, stop every few hours and take a short walk. On plane rides, stand up and move your legs regularly.
Carefully monitoring blood pressure and maintaining healthy blood-pressure levels can also help to prevent blood clots, notes WebMD. Additionally, it is critical for patients to discuss any family or personal history of blood clotting with their physicians. Doctors sometimes prescribe blood thinners, such as Coumadin and Heparin, to help prevent blood clots.
Although blood clots in veins close to the surface of the skin are unlikely to cause problems, clots in deep veins, referred to as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, can lead to serious complications, according to WebMD. Pulmonary embolisms, which occur when deep blood clots break away and travel to the lungs, are a medical emergency and can be fatal.
Factors that increase the risk of DVT include an inherited clotting disorder, extended bed rest, such as occurs during a lengthy hospital stay, obesity, heart failure, injury to veins and surgery. Pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy and the use of oral contraceptives increase risk of DVT in women. Although DVT can occur at any age, people over the age of 60 are most likely to develop the condition, according to Mayo Clinic.