How Can I Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis When I Fly?
Written by Dallas Vein Specialists on May 14, 2015
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a vein condition where a blood clot develops in the deep veins, most frequently in the legs. This condition is caused by certain medical conditions as well as not moving the body for long periods of time. It can be a serious condition since the resulting blood clot or clots travel through the bloodstream and can get lodged in a blood vessel going to a lung, which may prove fatal.
Because this serious condition is often associated with the lack of mobility and cramped leg quarters of flights, especially long ones, increased public concern is understandable. However, there are quite a few ways to significantly reduce your risk of developing DVT.
FIND OUT IF YOU’RE AT AN INCREASED RISK
There are certain factors that make some people more susceptible to developing DVT. In particular, people who have already have a history of DVT or pulmonary embolism are at higher risk. Those that have heart disease, cancer, have had a stroke or hormone replacement therapy, are obese or pregnant are also at increased risk. If you match any of these descriptors, it’s important to see your doctor before you travel.
MOVE FREQUENTLY, ESPECIALLY YOUR LEGS
Flights, especially long ones, create an atmosphere in which there is decreased flow of blood in the legs. Sitting without moving, and with the legs bent at the knee, reduces blood flow in the legs and increases the risk of developing a blood clot. You can reduce this problem in a number of ways. Avoid crossing your legs when you sit. Keep your leg area clear so that your legs have free movement. Request an aisle seat so that you can move around during the flight. Stand up and walk back and forth in the cabin at least once every hour. If you can’t get out of your seat, exercise in your seat by moving your legs and flexing your feet, which will help get the blood pumping in your legs and in the direction of your heart.
WEAR COMPRESSION STOCKINGS
Fitted compression stockings are stockings made for the purpose of improving blood flow to the lower legs. These stockings come in a variety of sizes and compression levels. It is important to check with your doctor to get the proper fit. These stockings work by applying gentle pressure to the legs, which prevents blood from pooling in the legs and helps blood flow.
ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT BLOOD-THINNING MEDICATION
If you are at a higher risk for developing DVT, your doctor may advise you to use anticoagulant, or blood-thinning, medication when you travel. This medication helps to thin the blood so that it makes a clot less likely. If you have a history of DVT or have the risk factors mentioned, and especially if you’re older than 60 or are a smoker, yourdoctor may recommend this course of action when travelling.
GET YOUR VEIN HEALTH CHECKED
Getting ready to hop a flight but still concerned about your DVT risk? Why not get your vein health checked before you leave? Contact Dallas Vein Health Specialists today and schedule an appointment by calling (214) 221-9222.