Factor V Leiden: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Blood vessel

Factor V Leiden is the most common inherited condition causing increased blood clotting. It increases the chances that your blood will form abnormal blood clots that can be dangerous. Clots can form in the veins near your bones that carry a lot of blood (deep veins), a condition called deep vein thrombosis. A clot can travel through the blood to a lung and cause a serious problem called a pulmonary embolism.

Many things can increase the chance of blood clots, including smoking and not being able to walk or move around for a long time. Your treatment may include a medicine (called a blood thinner) that prevents blood clots.

Factor V Leiden is caused by a faulty gene that you inherit from one or both parents. Talk with your doctor about whether other people in your family should be tested for the faulty gene.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Eat a balanced diet that is low in fat and cholesterol. If you are taking warfarin (Coumadin), do not suddenly change the amount of vitamin K–rich foods you eat, such as broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, lettuce, and spinach. Vitamin K can interfere with the medicine.
  • Get at least 2½ hours of exercise a week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
  • Try not to sit or lie down for long periods. If you are in bed at home recovering from an injury or surgery, ask your doctor how often you should move around or do exercises. If you are on a long car trip, stop every hour or so. Get out and walk around for a few minutes. If you are travelling by bus, train, or plane, walk up and down the aisle every hour or so.
  • Some medicines, such as birth control pills, hormones, antibiotics, celecoxib (Celebrex), and raloxifene (Evista), can increase your chances of a blood clot. Check with your doctor before taking any medicines.
  • Do not smoke. It can increase the risk of blood clots. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • Let doctors you see know that you have factor V Leiden.
  • Wear medical alert jewellery that lists your clotting problem.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • You cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of a blood clot, such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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