01/02/2013 02:52 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Blood Clot Risk Factors: 5 Ways To Help Prevent This Damaging And Potentially Deadly Condition

The blood clot that landed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the hospital is thought to be related to her recent concussion. Doctors are hopeful that the clot, which was discovered during a routine MRI and is being treated with blood thinners, will dissolve. They expect the 65-year-old world traveler to make a full recovery.

Clinton -- who has not been seen in public since December 7 -- suffered from a concussion earlier in December after she fainted at home, the result of being dehydrated from a stomach bug.

Have you had blood clots? Do you have advice for how to avoid them? Tell us:

Blood clots like Clinton's can happen for many different reasons and under a variety of circumstances. They can form as a result of an injury -- such as a head injury -- or a prior health condition. Or they can form for seemingly no reason at all. One thing's for sure: those over 65 are more at risk than those who are younger.

Experts say there are steps you can take to help prevent blood clots. They include:

-- Take care when going on a long flight or when sitting for a long period of time.

If you have to sit for several hours -- especially for longer than six hours -- make sure you get up and move around as much as possible. While seated, raise and lower your heels and toes, to encourage circulation. On long flights, drink plenty of fluids. Even when you’re stuck at your desk for a long period of time, blood can pool in your legs, paving the way for a clot.

-- Drink plenty of water.

Staying hydrated is said to help boost circulation while flushing out toxins that could cause clots.

-- Talk to your doctor before agreeing to undergo hormone replacement therapy.

Recent studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy -- which is when medications containing female hormones are used to replace ones the body no longer makes following menopause -- increases the risk of certain conditions including blood clots.

-- Have your heart checked.

More than four million Americans have an irregular heartbeat -- or cardiac arrhythmia -- but often the condition goes undetected because, in many cases, there are no symptoms. But an irregular heartbeat can increase your chances of developing a blood clot.

-- Know what blood clot symptoms look and feel like.

Be aware of what your body's telling you. Swelling (usually in one leg), leg pain, rapid heart rate, unexplained sweating, fatigue and feeling faint are among the symptoms of blood clots.

Of course, there are many reasons you could get a blood clot. You are also at risk of getting a blood clot if you are obese; have had cancer or are being treated for it; have had a stroke; have varicose veins; or have a bad bump, a bruise or a broken bone, among other factors.



Secretaries Of State