Caused Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the proper name for what some people refer to as economy class syndrome.
So what exactly is this syndrome they talk about? The problem is blood clots. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the legs.
Sitting motionless for long periods may increase the risk that the blood in your legs will pool and clot. In some cases small pieces of a clot may detach and be carried through the blood stream to the heart and onward into the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism. This is serious… it may even cause death.
The general symptoms of a blood clot in your leg are pain, swelling and discoloration, though a big problem is that you might not notice any symptoms at all! If you DO notice any of this, get it checked out immediately.
DVT can occur if you have restricted mobility for any reason…. if you are sick and not moving around much at home…. if you are riding in a car or bus for several hours…. or a long plane ride.
Traveling, especially on long-haul flights can increase the risk of developing DVT because you are apt to sit still for hours at a time unless you are proactive with prevention. The best defense against thrombosis is to get informed.
First you should know that Deep Vein Thrombosis can strike any long distanceer — regardless of physical condition, age or gender.
Second, you should find out if you are at increased risk. There are risk assessors on several deep vein thrombosis websites which will let you figure out your risk. Even if you haven’t had recent surgeries or clotting problems, you may find yourself at a moderate risk due to your age or weight or family history.
If you find you are in a high risk group, talk to your doctor before you travel. You might get a prescription for anti-thrombotic medication. You might be advised to wear compression stockings…. they can assist in preventing swelling of the ankles and feet, and they may improve the blood return to the body from the lower legs.
If you are aware it could happen, and you know your risks, you’ll probably be more apt to do the things that can help prevent it….
This should not be considered medical advice, but we have read that you might want to take an aspirin tablet before departing and at the safe recommended intervals during your flight. Aspirin is a proven blood thinner and is safe for most people. Talk to your doctor!
For the most part, prevention of deep vein thrombosis goes back to what we’ve told you about healthy travel in general and about healthy travel on planes. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, drink plenty of water, eat light meals, and exercise. Thrombosis prevention is concentrated on leg exercises. Those are easy to do sitting in your seat… even in economy class.
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