Here are 5 facts that everyone needs to know regarding a common condition that predisposes to potentially deadly clot formation, either deep vein thrombosis (leg clots) or pulmonary embolism (lung clots).
1. Factor V Leiden (FVL) is a mutated Factor V, one of the factors essential to form a clot. The mutated factor, once activated, is more difficult to clear by the body, being this the reason why people with this mutation may form clots easier than people who do not have it.
2. About 5% of Caucasians have at least one copy of FVL (of 2 possible from mother and father). It is rare in other ethnicities. 0.02% of Caucasians have the two mutated copies.
3. A person with one copy of FVL has a 4 to 8 times increased chanced of developing a clot. A person with 2 copies has up to 80 times increased risk of developing a clot. Someone with a normal Factor V has a chance of developing a clot of 1 in 1000 in 1 year. This means that an individual with one copy of FVL can have a 4-8 in 1000 (0.4-0.8%) chances to develop a clot in a year and an individual with the 2 copies can have a risk of 8% per year to develop a clot.
4. Smoking, estrogen therapy, pregnancy and recent surgery are situations known to increase the chance of blood clots in any person, however the effects can be more pronounced in people with FVL
5. If a person with FVL develops a second clot, he or she is a candidate for lifelong anticoagulation (blood thinning) therapy.
1. Learning About Factor V Leiden Thrombophilia. Retrieved on August 28, 2016 from https://www.genome.gov/15015167/
Marco A. Ramos MD