D-dimer is a small protein fragment present in the blood after a blood clot is degraded by fibrinolysis. It is typically undetectable or present only at very low levels unless the body is forming and breaking down blood clots. Testing for D-dimer levels is a common way to help diagnose thrombosis, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), as elevated levels can be a sign of significant clotting activity in the body....


Who would benefit from testing their D-dimer levels?

Testing for D-dimer levels is beneficial for individuals suspected of having thrombotic disorders like deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. It is particularly useful in assessing the risk or presence of these conditions in patients who show symptoms of thrombosis, such as unexplained swelling, pain, or redness in the limbs, or sudden shortness of breath. However, it is not routinely used in patients with a low probability of these conditions, as D-dimer levels can be elevated due to other factors.

What are symptoms of high D-dimer levels?

High D-dimer levels themselves do not cause symptoms. Instead, they are indicative of an underlying condition that may be causing blood clot formation and breakdown. The symptoms would therefore be related to the condition causing the elevated D-dimer levels, such as swelling, pain, and redness in the case of a deep vein thrombosis, or chest pain and shortness of breath in the case of a pulmonary embolism.

How do you lower your D-dimer levels?

Lowering D-dimer levels involves treating the underlying cause of the elevated levels. This often includes managing conditions that lead to increased clot formation, such as anticoagulant therapy for thrombosis. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and smoking cessation can also help lower the risk of clot formation. However, it’s important to note that D-dimer levels are a symptom, not a cause, so direct reduction of D-dimer without addressing the underlying issue is not a typical medical approach.

What factors affect D-dimer levels?

Several factors can affect D-dimer levels. Apart from thrombotic conditions like DVT and PE, other factors include surgery, trauma, infection, recent surgery, liver disease, high rheumatologic diseases, and even pregnancy. Age is also a factor; older individuals tend to have higher baseline levels of D-dimer. Certain medical treatments, particularly anticoagulation therapy, can also influence D-dimer levels.

Test(s) that measure/test for D-dimer

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