-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Nov. 23, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Traveling long
distances in cars and planes over the holidays could put you at
risk for deep vein thrombosis -- potentially deadly blood clots in
the deep veins of the lower legs and thighs, an expert says.
Sitting for long periods of time in cramped spaces can limit
circulation in the legs, resulting in the formation of a blood
clot. The clot can travel through the blood stream and lodge in the
lungs, brain, heart and other areas. This can lead to severe damage
to organs and possibly death.
However, it's easy to prevent deep vein thrombosis.
"If you plan to travel overseas or cross country, make sure you get up and walk around at least every two hours, and try not to sleep more than four hours at a time," Dr. Alan Lumsden, chief of cardiovascular surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital's heart and vascular center, said in a hospital news release.
"Drink plenty of water or juices, wear loose-fitting clothing, eat light meals and limit alcohol consumption," he added.
Elderly people and those with circulation problems should wear
compression stockings that help prevent clots from forming in the
deep veins, Lumsden suggested.
If you can't get up and move around every couple of hours, you
can do the following exercises while sitting down:
If you are pregnant or have a history of heart disease, cancer
or blood clots, you should always consult with your doctor before
going on a long trip, Lumsden advised.
About 2 million Americans develop deep vein thrombosis every
year, and nearly 200,000 die. "It's a very serious condition that
can simply be avoided by getting up and moving around," Lumsden
"Symptoms include pain and tenderness, swelling, redness and increased warmth in one leg," Lumsden said. "In some cases, a physician might suggest that a patient go on blood thinners or simply take an aspirin before and during a long trip to avoid [deep vein thrombosis]."
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
deep vein thrombosis.
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