Spring & Summer Travel Can Increase Your Risk of DVT
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body. It can be a complication of varicose veins. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but may occur without any symptoms. DVT can also develop if you have certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots or if you don’t move for a long time, such as after surgery, following an accident or when you are confined to bed.
Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism). DVT may not have any symptoms but can cause pain, swelling and warmth in the leg. If untreated, a pulmonary embolism can be fatal. According to the CDC, as many as 900,000 people in the U.S. could be affected by DVT annually and 60,000-100,000 Americans die of pulmonary embolism each year. Our risk for a pulmonary embolism doubles for each 10 years after the age of 60.
This time of year it is especially important to be alert to DVT because vacations are a dangerous time for DVT. Travel on an airplane, car, bus or train increases your risk.
Taking these simple actions will decrease your risk for DVT and provide you with a happier, healthier vacation:
• Wear medical grade compression stockings while traveling. These stockings help increase the circulation in your legs.
• Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine or alcohol because both are dehydrating.
• Wear loose, comfortable clothes during the trip.
• Get up out of your seat every hour or two. In an airplane, it is helpful to request an aisle seat so it is easier to stretch out and move around. In a car, stop in a safe place and walk around every couple of hours.
• While seated, rotate your ankles, draw circles on the ground with your toes, flex your feet and toes and raise your legs slightly and holding them in the air for a few seconds.
If you think you might have varicose veins, call The Vein Specialists at (309) 862-4000 to schedule a Consultation with one of our physicians or request an appointment online at www.ILveins.com. We have convenient locations in Bloomington, Eureka, Peru, Springfield and Streator.