Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have factor V Leiden, avoiding certain situations might help to reduce your risk of developing blood clots. These include:

  • Uninterrupted long car or airline trips. When your legs remain still for long periods — more than two hours — your calf muscles don't contract, which normally helps blood circulate. If you can, try to move around whenever possible on a plane. In addition, don't drink alcohol, but do drink extra water to prevent dehydration. On a car trip, take periodic breaks and walk around. If you sit for long periods of time because you have a desk job, it's also a good idea to get up periodically and stretch your legs.
  • Prolonged bed rest, such as during a long illness, or paralysis. When your legs remain still for long periods, your calf muscles don't contract to help blood circulate. Your doctor may suggest the use of compression stockings to keep the blood in your legs moving.
  • Injury or surgery. Injury to your veins or surgery can slow blood flow, increasing the risk of blood clots. General anesthetics used during surgery can dilate your veins, which can increase the risk of blood pooling and then clotting. Let your doctor know that you have factor V Leiden.
  • Oral contraceptives or estrogen replacement therapy. Because these medications can increase the risk of blood clots on their own, be sure to discuss the risks and the benefits of estrogen-containing medications with your doctor if you have factor V Leiden.
  • Being overweight or obese. Being overweight increases the pressure in the veins in your pelvis and legs. Losing weight can lower your risk.
  • Smoking. Smoking affects blood clotting and circulation. If you're a smoker, take steps to quit.

One situation you don't have to avoid if you have factor V Leiden is donating blood. People with factor V Leiden can usually donate blood if interested in doing so. However, if you're taking blood-thinning medications, you can't donate blood until those medications are fully out of your system. If you've taken blood thinners, check with your doctor before donating blood.

If your factor V Leiden requires you to take anticoagulant medication, here are some steps that might help prevent injury and avoid excessive bleeding. Consider these suggestions:

  • Avoid playing contact sports or engaging in other activities that could be result in physical injury. However, regular noncontact exercise, such as walking or swimming, is still recommended for good health.
  • Use a soft toothbrush and waxed floss.
  • Avoid shaving cuts by using an electric razor.
  • Be cautious with household tasks involving knives, scissors and other sharp tools.
Sep. 06, 2012