Pulmonary Embolism: Lifestyle Management Make an Appointment Refer a Patient Ask a Question Reviewed by Chhaya Patel, MD (March 01, 2021) Preventing future pulmonary embolisms (PE) includes knowing your risk for PE and maintaining a healthy lifestyle Here’s what increases your risk of PE: Family history of blood clots Hospitalization Major surgery of the pelvis, abdomen, hip or knee Severe physical trauma from a car accident or fall Vein injury from a broken bone or severe muscle injury Hormone therapy containing estrogen Pregnancy and delivery Heart and lung conditions, cancer or diabetes Being overweight Being on bed rest or using a wheelchair Sitting too long, especially with crossed legs Smoking Age 55 or older If you have increased risk of PE, talk with your doctor about a specific plan to decrease that risk. Your plan may include these lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes that help prevent pulmonary embolisms: Eating Well Eat a balanced diet will help you obtain and maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of blood clots. Elevatation of the Lower Extremities Put your feet up twice a day for 30 minutes to prevent the blood from pooling in your legs. Exercise You need to regularly exercise and move your legs to prevent the blood from pooling. If you are bed-ridden or sit for long periods, move your arms and legs for a few minutes each hour. If you can, get out of bed and walk across your room. Walk around your house or down your driveway once or twice a day. Also, when sitting, avoid crossing your legs when you sit to help the blood flow faster. Drink Liquids Drink a lot of water and juice to prevent dehydration and to get you up and moving (to the bathroom). Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine. Sitting Avoid crossing your legs when you sit to help the blood flow faster. Smoking Do not smoke or get help to quit smoking. Stockings Wear compression stockings to help prevent swelling in your legs and your blood from clotting. Stretching If you can’t stand up, or if you are sitting for long periods of time, stretch your arms and legs to help keep blood flowing smoothly. Weight Lose weight if you are overweight and try to maintain a healthy weight. Pulmonary Embolism: Treatment Pulmonary Embolism: Associated Conditions Clinical Trials For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.