HOW DOES MTHFR AFFECT CLOTTING?
Some individuals who have the MTHFR gene mutation develop elevated levels of homocysteine. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been associated with an increased risk of blood clots. Individuals who have a MTHFR mutation and have normal levels of homocysteine are not at an increased risk of clotting. It is the elevated homocysteine that raises the risk of clots, not the MTHFR mutation.
HOW IS MTHFR DIAGNOSED?
MTHFR is diagnosed by measuring the levels of homocysteine in the blood. MTHFR is not a large risk factor for blood clots. For this reason, some doctors will limit homocysteine testing to individuals who are under 30 years of age who have a blood clot or have a history of repeated blood clots.
The best way to prevent clots is always to use good clotting hygiene. Make sure to keep moving, be careful on long car rides and flights, stay hydrated, and to speak with a doctor for extended illnesses or surgeries. If blood clots are a problem, anticoagulation therapy may be useful. Vitamins B12 and B6 are involved in lowering homocysteine levels in the body. Studies haven't clearly shown a decrease in blood clotting risk when patients take B6 and B12. If you have elevated homocysteine levels, it would be worth asking your doctor how he or she feels about using B vitamins to prevent clots.
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