Blood clots are a major problem for many patients with COVID-19. If you develop one, your disease becomes much more difficult to treat.

In one recent study, 31% of COVID-19 patients in the ICU had experienced complications related to blood clots. Now, researchers are discovering new insights about why clots form.

If you have COVID-19, there’s a lot to worry about.

Blood clots are one major concern for severely ill patients. In a person with the virus, these dangerous clots cause a stroke, restrict blood flow in the lungs, and impair oxygen experience.

“We don’t really understand why it is happening.” said Dr. Ivan Castro.

A new study offers some clues. Investigators found that half of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were positive for at least one autoantibody. They believe certain autoantibodies in the blood attack cells and trigger clots in arteries, veins and vessels.

The next step is to test whether removing or blocking these antibodies could help protect against clots.

You can help prevent clots in general by avoiding smoking, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight.

“If you can defeat the virus, then the complications from the virus will resolve.” Dr. Castro said.

Dr. Castro emphasizes that wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and practicing social distances are your best defenses.