According to, DVT means a blood clot in a deep vein. Conditions that increase your risk of DVT. The following conditions can increase the formation of blood clots, and therefore lead to DVT and pulmonary embolism:

Cancer. Cancer treatment may also damage blood vessels and cause you to be less active, both of which contribute to DVT.

Heart health. Any condition that affects your heart’s ability to pump blood normally can lead to blood clots. Heart health conditions, particularly congestive heart failure and a previous heart attack or stroke, can cause blood to back up inside your veins, which encourages clots to form. Having poor heart health may also make you less active.

Pregnancy. Women who are pregnant are at a short-term risk of DVT.

Obesity. Being overweight is bad for your heart health and often goes hand-in-hand with inactivity. Studies show that obesity increases your risk of DVT. If you are obese, you also have a greater risk of DVT during surgery and during pregnancy.

Other health factors may also put you at risk, including:

Trauma. Trauma can injure blood vessels, which may lead to clot formation. Injuries to bones, especially the bones in your legs, commonly release fats and other substances that increase clotting into the blood.

Surgery. Surgery is a very common cause of DVT. Surgery can result in damage to blood vessels, slowing of blood flow, and the release of chemicals that increase clotting.

Inflammation. Inflammation is your body’s response to injury or infection. Proteins released by your body during inflammation have been shown to be associated with a higher risk of blood vessel disease. Some chronic inflammatory conditions that increase your risk of DVT include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone used in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, a treatment that may be prescribed after menopause. Estrogen increases blood clotting.

Catheters. Catheters are long, thin tubes that are inserted into your body. A catheter may be inserted into a vein to administer fluids or liquid feedings when you are sick, or to measure the pressure inside your heart. These procedures may damage the inside of a vein and lead to a blood clot.

Pacemakers. Pacemakers implanted in the chest to treat abnormal heart rhythms may also increase the risk of DVT.

If you know you are at increased risk of DVT, the best thing you can do is work closely with your doctor to prevent blood clots and watch for symptoms of DVT.

Always let your doctor know if you have any changes in skin color, increased warmth, tenderness, swelling, or pain in one of your legs. Your doctor can prescribe medications to prevent DVT if you are at high risk and to treat DVT if you develop it.