University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Medical Student Education

Cushman Presents Study on Impact of Lifestyle Changes on Reducing Blood Clot Risk

Mary Cushman, M.D.
Mary Cushman, M.D., UVM Professor of Medicine and Pathology

Blood clots in the legs or lungs – called deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism respectively – kill an American about every five minutes, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). New research presented by Mary Cushman, M.D., University of Vermont professor of medicine and pathology, at the AHA’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2013 Scientific Sessions May 2 found that adopting seven simple lifestyle steps could help an individual reduce his/her risk of these potentially deadly blood clots.

In a large, long-term study, researchers followed 30,239 adults who were 45 years or older for 4.6 years. Researchers rated participants’ heart health using the seven health indicators from the AHA’s Life’s Simple 7. These measures include: get active; control cholesterol; eat better; manage blood pressure; lose weight; reduce blood sugar; and stop smoking. The researchers then compared the incidence of blood clots among those whose heart health rated as inadequate, average and optimum.

Among participants with optimum health, the risk of blood clots was 44 percent lower than those with inadequate health. Those with average health had a 38 percent lower risk.

Maintaining ideal levels of physical activity and body mass index were the most significant lifestyle changes related to lower risk of blood clots.

(This article is based on a news tip created by Darcy Spitz of the American Heart Association.)