Sitting still for too long can kill you. A few years ago the potential link between long distance travel and a risk of DVT arose and it is now acknowledged that DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) is a real risk to long haul travellers.
DVT is the formation of a clot (or thrombus) most frequently in the large veins of the calves. Symptoms can include a mild ache and swelling to no symptoms at all. Though rare, DVT can be life threatening when a piece of the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs via the bloodstream, referred to as pulmonary embolism (PE).
Risk factors for DVT are:
"?¢ Family history of DVT
"?¢ Blood disorders leading to increased clotting tendency
"?¢ Recent surgery or injury, especially to lower limbs or abdomen
"?¢ Immobilisation for a day or more
"?¢ Aged over 40
"?¢ Oestrogen hormone therapy, including oral contraceptives.
"?¢ Former or current malignant disease.
Some studies have also suggested tobacco smoking, varicose veins and certain forms of heart disease as risk factors.
TIPS FOR LOWERING THE RISK
"?¢ Beofore you travel, ssk your doctor if you are at risk
"?¢ Compression stockings can help prevent swelling of the ankles and feet and improve the blood return to the body from the lower legs
"?¢ While flying, move your legs and feet for three to four minutes per hour while seated and move about the cabin occasionally.
"?¢ Do the light exercises recommended in the inflight magazines.
"?¢ Wear loose, non-restrictive clothing.
"?¢ Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids during flights. Avoid caffeine.
"?¢ Be aware that sleeping pills may keep you in the same position for long periods of time