Dealing with Factor V Leiden
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Last updated August 4, 2016 (originally published August 18, 2015)

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our Editorial Board, which
Registered Nurses and Certified fitness professionals]

Factor V Leiden is a genetic mutation that occurs in 3 to 8
percent of people of European ancestry.  Given that about 245
million people in the United States are of European ancestry,
this would mean that up to 20 million people in the U.S. have
Factor V Leiden. In Europe, that number would approach 50

This mutation makes you more likely to develop blood clots. In
fact, depending on whether you inherit the gene from one of
both sides of your family, your risk for blood clots could be 8%
higher or 80% higher than people without the mutation.

If only one parent has the gene, then your risk for blood clots
is up to 3% to 8% higher.

If you inherit the gene from
both your mother and father, you
have an 80 times higher risk to develop blood clots, especially
blood clots in your legs known as
deep vein thrombosis.

Why is this important? Blood clots from deep vein thrombosis
can break off and travel to other organs of your body  such as
your heart, lungs or brain, where they can cause strokes and  
heart attacks.

Why Is it Called Factor V Leiden?

Factor V Leiden was discovered by a research team led by Dr.
Rogier M. Bettina and Dr. Bobby P.C. Koeleman in a small,
picturesque city in the Netherlands called Leiden. Leiden is the
home of the oldest University in the Netherlands. I have visited
Leiden and I can tell you that it is a lovely city dominated by its
university, with more canals than its far more famous
neighboring city, Amsterdam. Leiden also is the birthplace of
the painter Rembrandt.  The research team which discovered
Factor V Leiden in 1994 hailed from The Hemostasis and
Thrombosis Research Center in Leiden and the University
Hospital of Leiden.

The Leiden research team discovered Factor V Leiden when it
tested a powerful anticoagulant on a group of people.  Anti-
coagulants are powerful clot-busters.

They discovered that this powerful anticoagulant simply was
not effective in 21% of people with thrombosis. Also, they
found that the anticoagulant did not work in a full 50% of
people who had a family history of thrombosis.

Also, 5% of healthy people with no history of thrombosis were
resistant to the life-saving drug, a resistance  which makes
them 7 times more likely to have a deep vein thrombosis.

This mystery prompted them to identify what it is about the
blood of these people which made them resistant to anti-
coagulants and they discovered Factor V Leiden.

Having Factor V Leiden means you have too many platelets so
that your blood clots too easily. The condition is sometimes
called “Factor V Leiden deficiency” or “Factor V Leiden

Signs That You Have Factor V Leiden

Of course, the only way to know for sure if you have Factor V
Leiden is to have a genetic blood screening.

But short of that, here are some clues:

-multiple miscarriages. If you are not menopausal and
especially f you are under 40 and have had multiple
miscarriages, Factor V Leiden may be the cause.

-thrombosis history. If you have developed blood clots before,
perhaps after a long plane flight or after sitting in a cramped
position for too long, you may have Factor V Leiden. Do either
of your parents have blood clots in their legs?

What Makes Factor V Leiden Worse?

Even if you have Factor V Leiden deficiency, you may never
develop a blood clot in your legs. But having Factor V Leiden
makes it more likely. And, having Factor V Leiden plus any of
the following conditions/habits can multiply your risk:


-Being Obese.

-Being Older.

-Using Birth Control Pills

-Hormone Replacement Therapy

Who Should Be Tested?

The American College of Medical Genetics has reached a
consensus on who should be tested. If you fit in any of the
following categories, you should be tested for Factor V Leiden:

-Age under 50, any venous thrombosis.

-Venous thrombosis in unusual sites (such as hepatic,
mesenteric, and cerebral veins).

- Recurrent venous thrombosis.

-Venous thrombosis and a strong family history of thrombotic

- Venous thrombosis in pregnant women or women taking oral

-Relatives of individuals with venous thrombosis under age 50.

-Myocardial infarction (Heart attack)  in female smokers under
age 50.

Natural Remedies That Support Management of Factor V Leiden

1. Stop Smoking. Smoking narrows the diameter of your blood
vessels, making it more difficult for blood to pass through and
increasing the severity of the consequences of a blood clot.


Women who smoke and who use oral contraceptives have a 8.8
times higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis than non-
smokers, according to a 2008 study from Leiden University
Medical Center.

Women who smoke and who have Factor V Leiden have a 5
times higher risk of thrombosis than women who do not

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight. Keep your body mass index
between 20 and 25. A 2015 study from the University of
Copenhagen in Denmark led by Dr. J. Klovaite confirmed that
obesity is actually one of the causes of deep vein thrombosis.

Therefore, you should avoid being overweight at all costs,
especially if you have Factor V Leiden. Since being overweight
is defined as having a BMI over 30,  the National Coalition for
Health Professional Education in Genetics advises that those
with Factor V Leiden should keep your BMI between 20 and

In practical terms, this means that a woman who is 5 feet 5
inches should weigh between 120 pounds ( 54 kilograms or
8.6 stones in the UK, and a BMI of 20) and  150 pounds (68
kilograms or 11 stone, a BMI of 25). For a man of 5 feet 10
inches, your weight should fall between 150 pounds (again, 68
kilograms or 11 stone, a BMI of 21) and 175 pounds (80
kilograms, 12.5 stones, a BMI of 25)

Avoid Prolonged Immobility. Sitting still or standing still
both increase your risk for thrombosis. Sitting and prolonged
time watching television are in general negative factors for
cardiovascular health. But, for people at higher risk for
thrombosis, being stationary is especially dangerous.

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Avoid prolonged sitting or
standing still if you have
Factor V Leiden.