Increased Risk of Blood Clots in Women with Gene Mutation and Common Medical Conditions

Increased Risk of Blood Clots in Women with Gene Mutation and Common Medical Conditions

A new study conducted by researchers at Queen Mary University of London has found that women who have a specific gene mutation, along with common medical conditions and estrogen use, are at an increased risk of developing blood clots. The study, published in the journal iScience, utilized health data from the Genes & Health project, which comprised 20,048 British-Bangladeshi and British-Pakistani women.

The research revealed that women with the Factor V Leiden (FVL) gene mutation who were prescribed estrogen had more than double the risk of developing blood clots compared to those without the mutation. In fact, approximately 20% of women who carried the FVL gene, were prescribed estrogen, and had two medical conditions experienced a blood clot. On the other hand, only about 5% of women with the FVL gene who were taking estrogen and had two conditions suffered a clotting event.

Furthermore, the study found that women with obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and kidney disease had an 8 times higher chance of experiencing blood clotting compared to those without these conditions. In fact, approximately one in every six women with all four of these conditions suffered a blood clot. Additionally, having three medical conditions increased the risk by five times, while having two conditions doubled the risk.

The researchers emphasized the importance of women being informed about the combined risk of their genetics and overall health when considering estrogen use. Many women are commonly prescribed estrogen as oral contraception or as part of hormone replacement therapy during menopause. While the overall benefits usually outweigh the risks, it is crucial for women, especially those with South Asian backgrounds and multiple existing health conditions, to have the necessary information to make informed decisions about their health.

According to lead author Dr Emma Magavern, “Our study gives a more complete picture of blood clotting in Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities who have previously been underrepresented in research.” The researchers suggest that genetic testing for the FVL gene mutation could help determine an individual’s personalized risk of blood clotting if they are prescribed estrogen.

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research Barts Biomedical Research Centre and Barts Charity.

– Journal reference: Magavern, E. F., et al. (2023) Factor V Leiden, oestrogen and multimorbidity association with venous thromboembolism in a British-South Asian Cohort. iScience.

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