Don’t Ruin Your Summer Vacation
Summer Travel Can Increase Your Risk for 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 legs. 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, which can be fatal. Approximately 600,000 people in the United States have a pulmonary embolism each year and more than 10% of them die from it. Pulmonary embolism occurs equally in men and women and doubles for each 10 years after the age of 60.
Vacations are a particularly dangerous time for DVT because travel on an 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 this summer 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 venous circulation in your legs. Make sure to purchase medical grade stockings. At Indiana Vein Specialists, our staff is specially trained to fit and educate on the use of compression 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. Get up and walk up and down the aisle as often as you can. In a car, stop at a gas station or rest area and walk around for a few minutes.
- Avoid crossing your legs while you are seated because it prevents circulation and can cause blood to pool in the veins.
- Move every half hour or so while you are seated. Rotate your ankles, draw circles on the ground with your toes, flex your feet and toes and raise your legs slightly and hold 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.