(Natural News) Air travel is convenient, but it’s a technological advancement that’s also linked to some fatal health conditions. For example, frequent flyers are at risk of developing blood clots, especially when a plane trip takes longer than four hours.
What is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
The condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when blood clots form in the deep veins of your legs. These deep veins can sometimes carry impure blood to the rest of your body.
These blood clots are clumps of blood cells that are attached to the lining inside the veins. Some clots can dissolve on their own, or they may get bigger. In some cases, blood clots can break off from the vein and travel along with the rest of the impure blood to the lungs.
When a DVT blood clot reaches your lungs, you can suffer from a pulmonary embolism. This condition occurs when a clot travels from your arm or leg into your lung. When the blood clot blocks an artery in the lung, you may require emergency medical attention.
Risk factors for DVT
Aside from frequently traveling and sitting down for several hours, risk factors for DVT include:
- Being older than 40
- Being overweight
- Being pregnant
- Having a family history of DVT
- Having cancer or recently undergoing cancer treatment
- Having had surgery or an injury in the last three months
- Having limited mobility (e.g., because of a plaster cast)
- Having varicose veins
- Taking birth control pills
- Undergoing hormone replacement therapy for menopause
Symptoms of DVT
DVT is a known silent killer, especially since a blood clot in a deeper vein won’t always cause any symptoms. More than half of people with DVT don’t experience any warning signs.
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Common symptoms of DVT may include leg pain or pain near the muscles. The condition may also cause redness or warmth in the skin over the leg. If you have a blood clot, you may also experience swelling in your leg.
Meanwhile, a pulmonary embolism may cause symptoms such as:
- Chest pain which worsens when you breathe deeply or coughing
- Coughing up blood
- Fainting or lightheadedness
- A heartbeat that is irregular or faster than normal
- Trouble breathing
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately to avoid complications.
Avoiding blood clots on long flights
Here are some tips that you can follow to reduce your risk of getting DVT:
- Consult a healthcare professional and ask if you need to wear a pair of compression stockings.
- Don’t sit and cross your legs several hours·
- Don’t sit for a long time without taking a break. Stretch your legs and if you’re sitting near the aisle, take a walk every hour.
- Elevate your legs if you can. (Related: Reduce your risk of deep vein thrombosis with two natural extracts.)
- Exercise your calf muscles by repeatedly going up on tiptoes while standing.
- If you can’t walk down the aisle, extend your legs straight out and bend at the ankle to pull in your toes. This should cause a pull along the back of your calf muscles. You can also pull up each knee towards your chest and hold it in place for at least 15 seconds. Repeat this exercise with each leg. These activities can promote healthy blood flow and prevent any clots from forming.
- Stay hydrated. Drink about one liter of water for every five hours of your journey.
- Try to refrain from drinking alcohol because this makes platelets stickier, which can promote clot formation.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothing when traveling.
If you’re a frequent flyer, don’t stay in your seat during the whole trip. Get up and stretch your legs to promote healthy blood flow and prevent DVT.
Browse more articles with tips on how to prevent blood clot formation at Health.news.