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Pulmonary Embolism: Associated Conditions

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This information was reviewed and approved by Chhaya Patel, MD (3/1/2021).

Other chronic diseases can increase the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism. 

Although blood clots routinely form as a normal function of blood cells to repair damaged blood vessel walls, clots become a problem when they prevent blood from flowing through an artery or vein inappropriately.

Conditions associated with pulmonary embolism (PE) include:

Cancers including acute leukemia, glioblastoma, kidney cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer are more likely to cause blood clots. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy and central venous catheters also increase the risk of PE

Diabetes increases the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries, which can cause dangerous blood clots.

Estrogen therapy can increase your risk of blood clotting especially if you are overweight, smoke or are inactive.

Heart disease of any type, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, varicose veins, etc., increases your risk of developing PE.

Obesity as you get older, especially women, increases your risk of PE.

Pregnancy, especially during the last trimester, blood flow to the legs can slow down if the weight of the baby sits on the veins in the pelvic region. If the blood pools, clots can form.

Prolonged immobility from being hospitalized or being on bed rest makes your more susceptible to developing blood clots because it slows blood flow and blood can pool in the legs and arms.

Surgery is one of the leading causes of blood clots because you are lying in bed and not moving for long periods of time.

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