(HealthDay News) – Simple lifestyle changes, including exercising and maintaining a healthy body mass index, may reduce the risk of blood clots, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from May 1–3 in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Mary Cushman, MD, from the University of Vermont in Colchester, and colleagues recruited 30,239 black and white participants (age, ≥45 years) across the United States (2003–2007). First-time cases of venous thrombosis (VT), including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus, were validated. A 14-point summary score for Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) categorized cardiovascular health as inadequate (0–4 points), average (5–9 points) and optimum (10–14 points).

The researchers found that cases of VT were more likely to be older and male. The incidence rates for VT based on the baseline summary LS7 score categories were 1.8 per 1,000 person years for optimum, 2.1 for average, and 3.1 for inadequate health. Persons with average health had an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for VT of 0.6 compared to those with adequate health, while those with optimum health had an HR 0.52. For a one-point improvement in overall score (analogous to improvement of one of the seven factors from poor to intermediate or intermediate to ideal), the HR was 0.87. Ideal physical activity level (HR, 0.61) and ideal body mass index (HR, 0.42) were the individual LS7 factors most strongly associated with VT risk, and these associations were independent of each other. Associations were similar in blacks and whites.

“Results suggest that lifestyle interventions might be effective in reducing incidence of VT,” the authors write.

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