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Keywords:

  • venous thromboembolism;
  • exercise;
  • Factor V Leiden;
  • smoking;
  • lifestyle variables

Summary

There has been a great advance in our knowledge of the role that thrombophilic factors play in the risk of venous thromboembolic events (VTE). However, the effect of lifestyle factors on VTE has been inadequately explored in large scale studies of women. This cohort study comprised one thousand native Swedish women for each age year between 25 and 64 inclusive (total = 40 000) drawn from the South Swedish population registry for 1990 (= 40 000), who were followed for a mean of eleven years. Seventy-four percent completed a questionnaire at the inception of the study (= 29 518) and 24 098 women responded to a follow-up inquiry between the years 2000–2002. The main outcome was the relationship between VTE and physical exercise, smoking habits, and alcohol consumption. Moderate drinkers of alcohol (10–15 g/d) and women engaged in strenuous exercise were at half the risk of VTE compared to those who consumed little or no alcohol or lived a sedentary life. Heavy smoking was associated with a 30% increased risk of VTE. Lifestyle factors have a major impact on the risk of VTE. Women non-smokers who were physically active and who consumed alcohol in moderation were at a lower risk of VTE.