Blood clots can be very serious and need to be treated quickly. Staying healthy and active can help prevent them.
What a blood clot in a leg can look like
A blood clot in a leg is called a DVT (deep vein thrombosis).
Check if you're at risk of blood clots
Blood clots are rare in young, healthy people.
You're more likely to get them if you:
- are staying in or recently left hospital – especially if you cannot move around much (like after an operation)
- are overweight
- are using combined hormonal contraception such as the combined pill, contraceptive patch or vaginal ring
- have had a blood clot before
- are pregnant or have just had a baby
- have an inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis
There are also other things that increase your risk of clots.
How to prevent blood clots
If you're at a high risk of blood clots – for example, you're in hospital – follow the advice of your care team about preventing clots.
This may involve wearing stockings that improve your blood flow or taking medicine to reduce the risk of clots (anticoagulants).
There are also things you can do to help avoid clots.
stay active – taking regular walks can help
drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration – you're more likely to get a clot if you're dehydrated
try to lose weight if you're overweight
wear flight stockings or flight socks to improve your blood flow on long flights – a pharmacist can advise you about this
do not sit for long periods without moving, if you can avoid it
do not drink lots of alcohol – this can make you dehydrated
do not smoke
Social care and support guide
- need help with day-to-day living because of illness or disability
- care for someone regularly because they're ill, elderly or disabled, including family members
Our guide to care and support explains your options and where you can get support.