At a time when heart disease is the No. 1 all time hit for women – and not in a good way – it's critical to know all of your risk factors, including a potential blood clotting disorder called factor V Leiden.
Ever heard of factor V Leiden? Probably not. The condition is the most common inherited thrombophilia (clotting disorder), and affects mostly young women, although it can affect all ages.
Depending on your “recessive” or “dominant” gene, this can affect up to 80 in 1,000. If you have this genetic feature, you can take precautions that can significantly affect your health.
Women who take birth control (most are hormone based)– or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), people who travel by plane or car and women who plan on getting pregnant should assess their risk factors.
A simple blood test is used in diagnosing the genetic disorder, and can be ordered by your doctor.
What if my doctor thinks it is insignificant to ask? Having worked in healthcare over 30 years, I’m surprised when otherwise well trained primary doctors are unaware of factor V Leiden, and the potential for adverse events in otherwise well young women. Speak up for yourself. This is one of those things you may otherwise not learn about – until it is too late. And if you test positive for recessive or dominant gene – get your sisters, daughters, mother to get tested as well.
A “healthy” sister discovered factor V Leiden after a stroke left her partially blind. She insisted her siblings (and mom) get tested. Five of her siblings and my mom tested positive, although the recessive and dominant profiles differed. My teen daughter tested – positive. With this information, we all get to make smarter decisions about birth control choices and HRT choices. We also give important medical information to our doctors that can affect our healthcare outcomes ahead!
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