How Diabetes Increases the Risk of Blood Clots

How Diabetes Increases the Risk of Blood Clots

Diabetes, a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide, is notorious for its tangled web of complications. An increasing worry among these consequences is the increased risk of blood clots. 

It may appear strange that a blood sugar disorder has such a significant influence on your heart. However, the connections are extensive since everything in your body is interconnected. When one system fails, it has repercussions throughout the entire system.

Diabetes and Blood Clots

diabetes forms blood clots

Diabetes, characterized by abnormal insulin production or utilization, is a metabolic disorder that influences various physiological functions. One such impact is on the vascular system, where diabetes can contribute to a prothrombotic state—making individuals more prone to blood clot formation

This is because people who have diabetes have high blood sugar levels over extended periods. High blood sugar levels cause blood vessel and nerve damage. This damage causes a slew of ailments.

According to the American Heart Association, diabetes increases the risk of blood clots, and up to four out of every five persons with diabetes are at risk of dying from a clot-related cause.

Complications of Blood Clotting in Diabetes

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

A blood clot develops in a deep vein, usually in the legs, to cause VT. Diabetes-related irregular clotting factors increase the risk of DVT, which can cause discomfort, edema, and problems if the clot moves to the lungs.

  • Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

PE occurs when a blood clot, usually in the legs, moves to the lungs. Diabetes increases the risk of PE, which can cause serious respiratory and cardiovascular complications such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and, in extreme circumstances, death.

  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Diabetes leads to the development of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a disorder in which constricted arteries limit blood flow to the limbs. This increases the chance of clot-related problems, including symptoms including leg discomfort, numbness, and poor wound healing.

Symptoms of Blood Clots in Vein

Swelling: Swelling, especially in the legs, may indicate the existence of a blood clot. Diabetes increases the likelihood of clot development, emphasizing the significance of diagnosing and treating edema as soon as possible.

Warmth and Tenderness: Increased warmth and pain in a single location, typically accompanied by redness, may suggest the development of a localized clot. To avoid future difficulties, early detection is essential.

Symptoms of Blood Clots in Veins (Arm and Legs)

Leg Pain: Diabetes-related vascular problems can cause blood clot-related leg pain that ranges from a subtle aching to acute agony. Immediate assessment is required to rule out any clot problems.

Discoloration: Skin discoloration, particularly red or blue, may indicate decreased blood flow and clot development. Individuals with diabetes should regularly monitor any such fluctuations to intervene as soon as possible.

Feeling of Heaviness: A prolonged feeling of heaviness in the arms or legs may suggest poor blood circulation and possible clot-related issues. This symptom emphasizes the importance of close monitoring and aggressive healthcare management.

How to Prevent Blood Clots

preventing blood clots

Prevention is essential in treating the increased risk of blood clots linked with diabetes. Lifestyle changes such as frequent physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and controlling blood sugar levels are important. Adherence to recommended drugs, such as blood thinners when needed, also helps in a holistic preventative strategy.

Physical Activity: Exercise regularly to improve healthy blood circulation and lower the risk of clot development.

Weight Management: Weight control is critical because excess weight puts strain on the circulatory system.

Blood Sugar Control: Consistent blood sugar monitoring and control are critical in lowering the risk of clotting problems.

Medication Compliance: Take prescription drugs, including blood thinners, as advised by your doctor.

Hydration: A well-hydrated body promotes optimum blood flow, reducing the possibility of clot formation.


Diabetes and the increased risk of blood clots have a complicated link that needs a proactive and knowledgeable approach. Recognizing the symptoms, knowing preventative actions, and aggressively managing diabetes all play important roles in reducing the risks of clot formation.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article on Are Swollen Lymph Nodes a Common Symptom of Diabetes?.

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being