Lungs Home > Pulmonary Embolism Prevention

One of the most important things you can do to prevent pulmonary embolism is to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT). There are several risk factors for DVT, including cancer, sitting for a long period of time, and being overweight. To lower your chance of developing DVT, there are many steps you can take -- for example, exercising your lower leg muscles during plane rides.

An Introduction to Preventing Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism prevention begins with preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Therefore, it is important to know if you are at risk for DVT and to take steps to lower your risk.
 

Know the Risk Factors

DVT risk factors include:
 
  • Inherited conditions that cause increased risk for blood clotting
  • Restricted or slow blood flow in a deep vein due to injury, surgery, or having to stay in bed for a long time
  • Cancer and its treatment
  • Sitting for a long period of time, such as on long trips in a car or on an airplane (see DVT and Travel)
  • During pregnancy and in the six-week period after delivery 
  • Being over age 60 (although DVT can occur at any age)
  • Being overweight or obese (see BMI Calculator to find out if your weight is within a healthy range)
  • Taking birth control or hormone replacement pills
  • Having a medical condition that requires a central venous catheter (a central venous catheter is a tube placed in a vein to allow easy access to your bloodstream for medical treatment).
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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