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Everyday Health: How to Protect Against Blood Clots If You Have Ulcerative Colitis

Everyday Health recently interviewed Dermot McGovern, MD, PhD, director of Translational Research in the Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai, about ways that people with ulcerative colitis can lessen their odds of developing a blood clot.

Research shows that people who have an inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis, are up to three times more likely to experience a pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, common and potentially life-threatening types of blood clots.

McGovern, who also is the Joshua L. and Lisa Z. Greer Chair of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetics at Cedars-Sinai, said that inflammation may play a role in the link between ulcerative colitis and blood clots.

“Inflammation tends to drive up some factors associated with clotting, such as increased platelet count and reduced anticlotting factors,” McGovern told Everyday Health.

Being less active or more dehydrated or malnourished, common issues for those with ulcerative colitis, may also contribute to an increased risk of clots, said McGovern, a professor of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

There are several ways to lower the risk of blood clots. The first step is speaking with a physician, McGovern told Everyday Health. “Talk with your doctor about what you can do to avoid blood clots, and think ahead to what precautions you can take if you have a flare,” he said.

Keeping weight in check is an important precaution to take. “There is some evidence that being overweight [or obese] may be associated with more severe UC [ulcerative colitis] and lead to less response to therapy,” McGovern told Everyday Health.

He added that surgery increases the risk for a blood clot, even for those who don’t have an inflammatory bowel disease, and that blood thinners can aid in prevention.

Click here to read the complete article from Everyday Health.