Sitting Can Be Dangerous For Your Health

car3It is the time of the year that I start thinking about vacations. One of the first things I plan for is not my wardrobe, but my compression stockings. They can save my life. Vacations can be a particularly dangerous time for DVT because the extended time spent in an airplane, car, or train can increase your risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Air travel is the notorious culprit for causing DVT.  In an airplane you are sitting crammed between two other travelers. The air on the plane is dry, and the pressure is decreased with lower oxygen levels. The passenger’s legs are bent in the same position for hours and the seat you are sitting in for your safety is constructed with a fairly ridged metal frame which is cutting into the back of your legs compressing the popliteal vein and slowing down the blood returning to your heart. At this point you are a prime candidate for developing a DVT. Any situation in which the leg is bent at the knee for prolonged periods with little or no activity may lead to the reduction of blood flow and increase the risk of blood clots.

Risk factors which can increase your risk of DVT include:

  • Injury to a vein, often caused by:
    • Fractures
    • Severe muscle injury
    • Major surgery (especially of the abdomen, pelvis, hip, or legs)
  • Slow blood flow, often caused by:
    • Confinement to bed (possibly due to a medical condition or after surgery)
    • Limited movement (a cast on an extremity to help heal an injured bone)
    • Sitting for a long time, especially with crossed legs
    • Paralysis
    • Sedate lifestyle
  • Increased estrogen:
    • Birth control pills
    • Hormone replacement therapy, sometimes used after menopause
    • Pregnancy, for up to 6 weeks after giving birth
  • Certain Chronic medical illnesses:
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Cancer and its treatment
    • Inflammatory bowl disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Other facts that increase the risk of DVT include:
    • Previous DVT or PE
    • Family history of DVT or PE
    • Age (risk increases as age increases)
    • Obesity
    • A catheter located in a central vein
    • Inherited clotting disorders
    • Varicose veins

A DVT may not have any symptoms but can cause pain, swelling and your leg (or arm) could feel warm to touch. If left untreated, a piece of the DVT (blood clot) can break loose and travel through the right side of the heart, and lodge in small or large branches of the pulmonary artery (blood vessels going to the lungs). This is called a pulmonary embolism or PE.  The symptoms can be chest pain, difficulty breathing, or coughing up blood or as extreme as collapse and sudden death.

Here are some simple steps to keep your travel from ending with a prolonged trip to the emergency room:

  • Wear properly fit compression socks or compression hose to prevent stagnation of the blood and increase the blood flow back to the heart.
  • Keep moving.  When you travel, get up and move around when it is safe to do so.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water helps keep you hydrated and less likely to develop clots
  • Avoid alcohol! Alcohol contributes to dehydration, which thickens the blood
  • Exercise your legs. Bend and straighten them several times ever half hour to hour.

The following was provided courtesy JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)

LegExercisesForAirTravel

Leg exercised for air travel. Lift toes and lift heels.

AtRest

At rest blood flow with the vein slows or stops.

FootPumpExercises

Foot pump exercises…Muscle contractions push blood through vein valves.

For your convenience you might want to check out our SIGVARIS Products at 20% off MSRP. We also have THERAFIRM Products 20% off MSRP. These are great products to make sure you are prepared for your vacation.

Sitting can be dangerous to your health,

Vanda Lancour
www.supporthoseplus.com

PS What is your favorite sock for travel?

What You Can Do When You Travel That Can Save Your Life

Last week we discussed wearing support hose and support socks to protect you against your enemies DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and PE (Pulmonary Embolism) when traveling (“Who Looks After The Security Of Your Legs“). Well, you are finally preparing for that trip of a lifetime (one that lasts more than 5 hours). If you have ever had a DVT or have a family history of DVT, a trip to your physician might be in order. Discuss with your physician if a preventative dose of asprin or low-molecular-weight heparin would be appropriate for you. Once this is done, be sure you have a good pair of knee high or thigh high support socks or support hose. Be sure and wear them for your trip and for three days after you arrive at your destination. The support socks or support hose do you no good if they are in your bag!

If you are flying choose an isle seat so you can get up and move around easily. If you are traveling by other means, be sure when you stop for gas or bathroom break to take a few extra minutes to walk around and keep your circulation moving. Don’t just sit there – do something. If you are traveling by plane and the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign is lit, here are some exercises you can do (some of these are from Boston Magazine):

Figure Eights
With your toes pointed, lift right leg off the floor and make circle eights with your foot: repeat with left leg. Repeat both several times.

Simulate Walking
Place heel on floor and rotate to toes to simulate walking. Do this at least 8 to 10 times with each foot. This activates the calf muscle pump to increase circulation.

Neck Rolls
Sit up tall and put your hands on your knees.  Nod your chin down, then roll your head to the right, then back to the left until you have completed a full circle. Do 8 to 10 neck rolls each direction.

Upper Stretch
In your seat, place the back of your hand on the small of your back. Then turn your head left and look down. You will feel a deep stretch on the right side of your neck. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Do up to 3 to 5 reps on each side.

Seated Cat Stretch
Begin in a tall seated position with hands on your knees. Bring upper body towards your lap, rounding your back shoulders and neck and hold for 1 to 3 seconds. Then lift your chest and your neck, arch your back and hold. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Quad Pulses
In your seat, hold your mid-thigh so that your thumbs are against your inner leg. Squeeze your legs so you can feel them press against your hands, hold for 3 to 5 seconds and then release. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

When the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign is off:

Standing Calf Raises
Stand up and slowly lift your heels off the floor for a three count, and then slowly lower them back down: repeat 10 times.

Hip Circles
Stand with your feet hip distance apart and place your hands on your hips. Press hour hips forward, to the right, then back, and complete a circle. Do the 8 to 10 times in each direction. Try this while waiting for the bathroom.

Sort-of Side Lunges
Stand with feet a little wider than hip-width, and shift your weight to your right leg, then lightly bend you right knee. Then shift back to the left leg and bend the left knee. Continue alternating 8 to 10 times.
 
You may feel a little awkward…don’t worry these exercises are much more subtle than the person doing yoga in the seat beside you! Drink lots of water (avoid alcohol and caffeine which dehydrate you), choose healthy snacks, and get up in move around frequently. It is up to you to be proactive to make sure your legs arrive safely.

Here’s to a wonderful journey,

Vanda
www.supporthosplus.com

Who Looks Out For The Security of Your Legs

Spring has officially arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere or has it. A couple who are friends have returned to their home on the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan after a lengthy vacation traveling the nice warm southern United States and are questioning their decision to return at this time. They shared on Facebook that they woke up to snow on the deck, the bay is still frozen and it was 35 degrees. For the rest of us the spring time weather like here in Amarillo, Texas gives us the travel bug.

If you are flying, airport security will be looking out for your safe flight by checking for bombs in shoes, explosives in hats, and (oh, of course) the .357 magnum that someone “forgot” to take out of their carry on bag. But what are you doing to make sure you arrive at your destination safely and are not attacked by enemies of a differ kind, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or the even more deadly Pulmonary Embolism (PA).  Either one can ruin a wonderful vacation. It is not just flying that can create these enemies… any travel by car, bus, or train that lasts 5 hours or longer is a candidate for creating these vacation ruining enemies. 

Air travel has been put on the most wanted poster more times because you are sandwiched between two other travelers, you are sitting, and sitting, and sitting in very dry, low-pressure air with lower than normal oxygen levels. Your legs are bent in the same position for hours and the seat you are sitting in for your safety is constructed with a fairly rigid  metal frame which is cutting into the back of your legs compressing the popliteal vein and slowing down the blood returning to your heart. It is at this point that you become a great candidate for a DVT. As I said, you do not have to be on a plane for this to occur…all you have to do is travel for long distances in the same position. Sitting can be dangerous for your health!

Lets make your journey one you remember because of the wonderful time you have and not because you encountered your enemies DVT and PA. Begin by choosing support socks (knee high will usually be appropriate) that will aid in returning the blood in your lower extremity back to your heart. If you have no swelling in your legs, no predisposition for developing a DVT then a 15-20mmHg compression will probably be adequate.  

Following is a list of factors that increase the risk of developing DVT:

  • Injury to a vein, often caused by:
    • Fractures
    • Severe muscle injury
    • Major surgery (especially of the abdomen, pelvis, hip, or legs)
  • Slow blood flow, often caused by:
    • Confinement to bed (possibly due to a medical condition or after surgery)
    • Limited movement (a cast on an extremity to help heal a injured bone)
    • Sitting for a long time, especially with crossed legs
    • Paralysis
    • Sedate lifestyle
  • Increased estrogen:
    • Birth control pills
    • Hormone replacement therapy, sometimes used after menopause
    • Pregnancy, for up to 6 weeks after giving birth
  • Certain Chronic medical illnesses:
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Cancer and its treatment
    • Inflammatory bowl disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Other facts that increase the risk of DVT include:
    • Previous DVT or PE
    • Family history of DVT or PE
    • Age (risk increases as age increases)
    • Obesity
    • A catheter located in a central vein
    • Inherited clotting disorders
    • Varicose veins

If you swell when you are not traveling or are predisposed to developing a DVT, you should choose a 20-30mmHg compression or discuss this with your physician. It is up to you to be proactive to make sure your legs arrive safely.

Here’s to a wonderful journey and thanks for shopping SupportHosePlus.com,

Vanda

PS: Next week things you can do when you travel that can save your life.