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?

Santa Didn’t Wear His Support Socks

Hello To All,I Wish I Had Worn My Support Socks

Hope your Holiday season has been kinder to you than it was to our dear old friend Santa Clause. Santa forgot to wear his support socks for his whirl wind world trip and see how swollen his feet are!? If you have not been wearing your support socks or support stockings, your feet may look just like Santa’s and you may feel just as tired as Santa.

All kidding aside, when you take your get away this winter or spring be sure to wear your compression socks or compression stockings. The number of travel-related vein conditions is increasing each year. No matter how you travel, blood circulation in the lower extremity is reduced simply because you are sitting in one position. Symptoms such as heavy legs, leg pain, or swollen feet and ankles develop. The reduced circulation in the lower leg can lead to blood clots (DVT) or even worse the blood clots could break loose and travel to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism (PE) which can be deadly.

Blood clots are more common in the left leg, possibly because the femoral artery in that leg passes anterior to the vein, and may compress the vein. Symptoms do not usually develop immediately after travel, but more likely within three days of arrival at your destination. Symptoms may not manifest themselves for up to two weeks after a long trip. Symptoms include: pain in leg or pelvis, tenderness and swelling of the leg, discoloration of the leg (reddish), areas of the leg or pelvis region that feel warm to touch, or whole leg swelling.

DVT kills more people every year than AIDS, breast cancer, and traffic accidents combined. Don’t be like Santa, wear your support hose or support socks and arrive at your destination ready for a fun time!

Things You Can Do To Prevent DVT When You Travel

  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing
  • Get up and walk once every hour or two
  • Make figure eights and circles with your feet while seated
  • Breathe deeply frequently
  • Drink plenty of water (Avoid excessive alcohol intake – it dehydrates the body)
  • Elevate your feet when possible
  • Wear your support sock and stockings from Support Hose Plus

Just remember to wear support socks or support stockings when you travel and continue to wear them for the next few days after your arrival at your destination to make sure your legs return to normal size. Encourage friends or family who are traveling with you to do the same. (They may not know about the dangers of Travel Related DVT.) They may not have any problems, so a 15-20mmHg compression may be adequate for them.

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Happy Travels to You and Yours,

Vanda