Factor V Leiden thrombophilia is an inherited blood disorder caused by a faulty gene. The disorder affects factor V which is a protein that helps blood clot. Your blood is in a continuous state of movement throughout your body. In case of a cut or injury, there is a certain order in the process of bleeding and its stopping.
When you cut yourself, first, your blood clumps—through some special proteins called clotting factors—forming clots to stop the bleeding. Clots are made up of blood cells called the platelets and the plasma, which is the liquid part of your blood. Then once the bleeding stops, a different type of proteins, the anticoagulant or blood thinning proteins, cause your blood to dissolve the clot.
Factor V Leiden is a blood mutation where the blood thinning proteins do not bind properly with factor V causing an increased tendency of the blood to form harmful clots that have the potential to block blood vessels.
People who carry this gene have an increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (i.e., blood clots in the leg veins) and especially women who use hormonal birth control. Some people with Factor V Leiden may never know they have the disease. Symptoms may include deep or superficial vein clots in the arms or legs which are painful, cause swelling, redness of the skin, and are warm to the touch.
People with a family history of blood clot disorders are advised to take a blood test and sometimes even a genetic test to determine whether they carry the faulty gene. Treatment is done using anticoagulant medications in case of the formation of blood clots and an active, healthy lifestyle is highly recommended.