7 Lifestyle Strategies to Decrease Your Risk of a Blood Clot

by Allison Bush Editor

In a large, long-term study, researchers rated the participants' heart health using the seven health indicators from the American Heart Association Life's Simple 7. Among participants with optimum health, the risk of blood clots was 44 percent lower than those with inadequate health. Those with average health had a 38 percent lower risk. Maintaining ideal levels of physical activity and body mass index were the most significant lifestyle changes related to lower risk of blood clots. Here are the "Simple 7" for reducing your risk.

Get active

According to the American Heart Association, nearly 70 percent of Americans do not get the proper amount of physical activity. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (such as brisk walking), five times per week, you will lower your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Control your cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance and our bodies use it to make cell membranes and some hormones. But when you have too much bad cholesterol (LDL), it combines with white blood cells and forms plaque in your veins and arteries. These blockages can lead to heart disease and stroke. You can control your cholesterol by improving your diet and exercising regularly.

Eat better

The American Heart Association recommends sticking to a diet that's low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. However, it's important to note that not all saturated fats are the same, and not all raise cholesterol (such as stearic acid). Trans fats, on the other hand, should always be avoided.

Manage your blood pressure

High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease. The normal range is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic or <120/80. You can achieve this by lowering your stress levels, consuming less sodium, and exercising regularly (which will help you manage your stress!).

Lose weight

If you have too much belly fat, you're at a much higher risk for experiencing a heart problem. If your body mass index is 25.0 or higher, you should bring it down. If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, you are at significant risk for heart problems.

Reduce blood sugar

The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the six major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range. If not, your results could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Stop smoking

This should be a given, but if you currently smoke, stopping would be one of the best things you can do for your health. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm and blood clots.

Allison Bush
Meet Our Writer
Allison Bush

Allison Bush is a former HealthCentral editor who covered a wide range of health topics.