Is obesity a causal factor of developing blood clots?

Av Søren Beck Jensen
Postdoktor ved TREC

It is well known to most people that obesity is detrimental to health and that cardiovascular disease is a main concern. You may wonder if overweight in itself is the cause of these diseases so that weight loss would in fact prevent disease from developing. A study by Lindstrõm and colleagues published in the scientific journal Human Genetics shows that obesity is indeed a cause in the development of venous thrombosis, or a blood clot.

Obesity is a growing problem in large parts of the world. Concurrently, the incidence of venous thrombosis is increasing. A link between the two conditions is well established, but it is not known if obesity, assessed by a high body mass index (BMI), is a direct cause in the development of venous thrombosis or if something else may cause both obesity and an increased risk of venous thrombosis. Lindström and colleagues used a large set of genetic variants that are determinants for a person’s BMI to conduct an analysis that could address this question. The analysis showed that high BMI is indeed a cause of venous thrombosis.

For personal and public health considerations, it is therefore reasonable to trust that a fight against obesity will have a positive effect on reducing the incidence of venous thrombosis. Additionally, excusing yourself from losing the extra pounds because you do not believe they are harmful is no longer valid with regards to the risk of venous thrombosis.

Reference: Lindström S, Germain M, Crous-Bou M, Smith EN, Morange PE, van Hylckama Vlieg A, de Haan HG, Chasman D, Ridker P, Brody J, de Andrade M, Heit JA, Tang W, DeVivo I, Grodstein F, Smith N, Tregouet D, Kabrhel C; INVENT Consortium. Assessing the causal relationship between obesity and venous thromboembolism through a Mendelian Randomization study. Human Genetics (2017).

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