A vascular surgeon is asked if chronic stress can actually trigger a deep vein thrombosis.

For this article I consulted with Paul Lucas, MD, surgeon with the Vascular Center and director of the Vascular Laboratory at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore.

Dr. Lucas’s response is as follows:

“There is no real objective data on an association of chronic stress and DVT risk that I am aware of.”

However, Dr. Lucas says this: “Chronic stress can lead to elevation in blood pressure. This can result in damage to vessels leading to a setup for atherosclerosis, plaque buildup … and lead to heart attacks and strokes.”

Ongoing anxiety, persistently being “wound up” and “stressed out,” puts the body in a fight or flee mode.

To prepare for what the body thinks is an imminent fight or escape from danger, various physiological changes take place, including thickening of the blood to protect against bleeding to death. This proved handy for primitive man.

For modern man, this protective response can backfire; chronically thickened blood (chronic stress from job, finances, traffic jams, etc.) is more prone to clotting up.

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Chronic stress can lead to behaviors that put a person at high risk of a DVT.

-Overeating leading to obesity

-Excessive inertia

-Lack of structured exercise

-Smoking

Dr. Lucas leads a team of vascular surgeons and technologists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseased blood vessels.