Long distance travel by car, train, bus or aeroplane has become an integral part of our lives. Long hours, more than 4 hours, spent sitting in one place without moving around can lead to formation blood clots in the deep veins called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). These veins are those buried deep within your tissue and are not visible on the outside. The longer you spend sitting without moving, the greater the risk of developing these clots.
What are the dangers of DVT?
The clots most often dissolve by themselves, but sometimes a part of the clot can break away and travel with the blood. If it reaches the lungs and causes a block, it could become fatal. So, it is better to prevent the formation of clots. Some simple steps can keep your blood moving correctly and prevent clot formation.
What are the risks of developing clots?
There are numerous risk factors for DVT. If you have to travel long distance and have a few or more or many of these risks, you should consult a doctor on how to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Risk factors include:
Age over 40
Being overweight/ obese
Recent injury of surgery
Pregnancy and 3 months after delivery
Family history or previous history of blood clots
Cancer or cancer treatment
Catheter in a vein
Limbs in a cast
Tips to prevent the formation of blood clots during long distance travel:
Get your doctor’s advice regarding prevention of blood clots and follow the advice given.
Wear loose fitting clothes while travelling.
Frequently move your legs to promote blood flow.
Slide your feet up and down, left and right along the floor.
Push your heel and toes alternatively on the floor.
Move your toes around to promote circulation.
Extend your legs as far as possible and move your ankles tilting your toes towards you.
Lift your knee up towards your chest, hold for a few seconds and lower. Repeat with other leg. Repeat 10 times.
Walk up and down the aisle as often as you can.
Do not cross your legs.
Check with your doctor if you can wear a compression stocking.
Blood thinners can also help and if you are at risk of developing clots, talk to your doctor.
Follow these simple steps to reduce your risk of forming blood clots. If you have had previous history of blood clots, someone in your family has had blood clots or you have some chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension etc. consult your doctor before you plan your trip.
Have a safe trip.