Dangers of Summer Travel and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Summer is quickly approaching and for many it means travel. While you’re finalizing your travel plans here’s one more thing to keep in mind- being in a car or plane for an extended amount of time increases your chances of developing blood clots and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Because you are immobile, gravity works to pool blood into the lower part of your legs. Additionally, in a plane the pressurization of the cabin increases the tendency for pooling because blood becomes more sluggish. This can cause dangerous blood clots to form.

Even if you don’t experience Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots while traveling, you could experience long-term effects later on. Sitting still for many hours can cause permanent damage to veins. Eventually you could start to suffer from chronic swelling, heaviness and fatigue in the veins. Varicose veins can also occur as a result.

To protect your veins during long travel, doctors suggest you get up and walk around every couple of hours. If you aren’t able to get out of your seat, activate the calf muscles by doing heel raises. Compression stockings also enhance the flow of blood in the calf muscle and increase the flow up the leg. If you are going to be flying for a very long trip, start taking baby aspirin about four days before you leave and continue taking it throughout the trip until you return home. Baby aspirin has a mild blood thinning effect that will help combat the blood pooling tendency when seated for a long trip.
As long as you are aware of the risk factors associated with long trips and take the appropriate precautions to avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and blood clots, you will be able to enjoy your vacation safely and ensure your veins remain strong and healthy.

If you are concerned you may be at risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots, contact the doctors at the Reno Vein Clinic and schedule a free consultation at (775) 329-3100.


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