If you'll be taking a long trip this Thanksgiving, we highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and its risk factors. (DVT) -- a clot in the leg that can break off and travel to the lung where it becomes a pulmonary embolism (PE) -- during long airplane flights.
In a New Zealand study published in The Lancet medical journal, 1% of 878 travelers tested who had flown 10-hour flights in a six-week period developed blood clots. Five developed a DVT, but four others had a pulmonary embolism (PE). Although 1% sounds small, given the millions of people who travel today, it represents a significant number of people who are potentially at risk.
The single most important risk factor is if you have had a previous DVT or PE or if any first-degree relative has had one. The reason is that this indicates an inherited blood factor imbalance that causes increased susceptibility to clotting.
Additional risk factors: Recent surgery, a malignancy, taking synthetic hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives, and/or being obese or pregnant. Post-surgery patients continue to be at risk for several months after surgery, as do women after delivery of their baby. One study also found that people with varicose veins and older people were at risk. (The average age of travelers with clots was 66.) The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of clotting.
This problem doesn't relate just to air travel but to any travel mode that involves long hours (more than six or so), a cramped position and immobility.
You need to move your legs regularly. Luckily "moving" does not mean running a marathon -- shuffling and tapping to real or imaginary music qualifies. If you are an airline traveler in a high-risk group, ask to be seated in the more spacious exit rows. On car trips, stop every few hours to walk around.
If you are at high risk, discuss the problem with your doctor before you travel. In particular, he/she may suggest delaying travel soon after surgery, or if you have a family history of clotting, he may give you an anti-coagulant to take shortly before the flight.
Compression stockings may be helpful if they are fitted correctly from the base of the heel to the mid-point behind the knee. Simple common-sense measures to follow when you fly include rotating your ankles, walking around as often as possible and drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Aspirin has not been shown to be effective in helping reduce DVT, however.
The Flexing Foot Rest from ActiveForever provides an outstanding defense against DVT. The patented Flexing Foot Rest provides an dynamic motion that stimulates your your feet and legs relaxing your muscles and helps maintain good blood circulation. If you'll be taking a long flight sometime soon, the Flexing Footrestis something you shouldn't be without.
After your flight, be on the alert for sharp pain and swelling in one calf -- a common symptom of DVT. In the month after traveling, if you experience shortness of breath that gets worse and is painful, coughing with blood or chest pain when you take a deep breath, you may have a pulmonary embolism. Get to an emergency room immediately!
This article was provided by Bottom Line's Daily Health News. Bottom Line's vast network of leading mainstream, alternative, and complementary practitioners brings you the information you need to make informed decisions about your health. Sign up now for their FREE electronic newsletter.
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