Spring & Summer Travel Can Increase Your Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is the formation of a blood clot inside a vein deep in the body, especially in the leg, and can be a complication of varicose veins. DVT may not have any symptoms but can cause pain, swelling and warmth in the leg. If untreated, people with DVT are at risk for developing a pulmonary embolism in which the blood clot breaks away and travels to the lung. A pulmonary embolism can be fatal. Approximately 60,000 people in the United States die from a pulmonary embolism each year. The risk for a pulmonary embolism doubles for each 10 years after the age of 60.
Vacations are a particularly dangerous time for DVT because travel on a airplane, car, bus or train, increases your risk, especially if you have recently had surgery, are pregnant, are overweight or have a history of blood clots.
Risk of DVT should not keep you from traveling if you take these simple steps.
- Studies have shown that wearing compression stockings while traveling can significantly reduce your risk for DVT. These stockings help increase the circulation in your legs. Make sure to purchase medical grade stockings.
- Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine or alcohol because both are dehydrating.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes during the trip.
- Get out of your seat every hour or two. When you walk, the muscles of the legs squeeze the veins and move blood to the heart. 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 at a gas station or rest area 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.
Taking these simple actions will decrease your risk for DVT and provide you with a happier, healthier vacation.
Are you concerned about the risk that your varicose veins might lead to Deep Vein Thrombosis during your next flight? Call us at (309) 862-4000 or use our contact form to Request an Appointment.