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 DCI Home: Blood Diseases: Pulmonary Embolism: Who Is At Risk

      Pulmonary Embolism
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Who Is At Risk
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Who Is At Risk for Pulmonary Embolism?

Populations Affected

Pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs equally in men and women. Risk increases with age: For each 10 years after age 60, the risk of PE doubles.

Certain inherited conditions, such as factor V Leiden, increase the risk of blood clotting, and, therefore, the risk of PE.

Major Risk Factors

People at high risk for a blood clot that travels to the lungs are those who:

Other Risk Factors

People who recently have been treated for cancer or who have a central venous catheter (a tube placed in a vein to allow easy access to the bloodstream for medical treatment) are more likely to develop DVT. The same is true for people who have been bedridden or have had surgery or suffered a broken bone in the past few weeks.

Other risk factors for DVT, which can lead to PE, include sitting for long periods of time (such as on long car or airplane rides), pregnancy and the 6-week period after pregnancy, and being overweight or obese. Women who take hormone therapy or birth control pills also are at increased risk for DVT.

People with more than one risk factor are at higher risk for blood clots.

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