Factor V Leiden (FAK-tur five LIDE-n) is a common inherited genetic disorder that can increase your chance of developing abnormal blood clots (thrombophilia), usually in your veins.
Most people with factor V Leiden never develop abnormal clots. However, some people with factor V Leiden develop clots that lead to long-term health problems or become life-threatening.
Both men and women can have factor V Leiden, but women may have an increased tendency to develop blood clots during pregnancy or when taking the hormone estrogen.
I recently found out about Factor V Leiden when I got my first PE (known as Pulmonary Embolism). In late January of 2012 I was having some difficulty breathing when doing small tasks. Like say carry the baby from the living room from our bedroom. It wasn’t too terribly bad I just noticed I got a little winded like as if I did a quick sprint. After a few days the shortness of breath continued. Because a week after the birth of my daughter I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Edema and almost died mentioned in the birth of my babies I thought that I was going through the same thing again. So off to the ER my fiance and I went.
Once there, the ER did a chest x-ray and came in and gave me some lasiks in my IV. (I lost 6lbs in hours that night) I though victory it’s fluid, not that I wanted fluid retention BUT I was pleased with at least “answers”. The doctor then came in to tell me how I need to exercise more (at this point I have explained that I walked daily 2 miles while pushing a 24lb baby!). He had a bit of surprise face on him (What? Fat girls can’t walk?) but told me to “eat less sodium” and to “exercise more”….. Two days later I still wasn’t doing any better, so after picking my fiance (Derrick) up from work I decided to go back. The ER was so packed that night, trauma after trauma came through, to the point we actually felt forgotten.
Derrick and I just before the doctors came in….. Don’t we look like we are having a ton of fun?
So finally a doctor comes in and says how they want to do a CT and an echo. We do both and I don’t even think an hour pasted by before the doctor came in and starts asking what seemed like strange questions to me such as “Have you been on any long plane rides lately?” or “long trips in the car?” to my reply was Noooooo… Why? Well, he says ever so kindly ” You know when people just up and die?” Hold up WTH? Up and DIE?
Um okay, I am at lost for words as is Derrick, he proceeds to say well, “that’s because they had a pulmonary embolism which is clots in their lungs”. He then explains how lucky we were that we came in so early. I spend 5 days in the hospital during our stay is when we learned that I have Factor V Leiden. Basically, it’s believed that when I started taking birth control pills back in 2010 (which was the start of my first clot though that was only a superficial one and usually quiet discarded), along with the pregnancy, and c-section were just breeding grounds for my PE… Apparently taking birth control pills while having this clotting disorder drastically increases your chances of having pulmonary embolism. So it was basically for me a matter of time. The doctors say I am lucky to be alive!