In a recent study, “about 8.1 percent of U.S. workers have commutes of 60 minutes or longer, 4.3 percent work from home, and nearly 600,000 full-time workers had “megacommutes” of at least 90 minutes and 50 miles one way” (Source: link). And whether it’s by air, train, or car, most if not all of us are sitting during much of the trip.
Additionally, if you’re one of the millions of U.S. workers who has a desk job, you get to work only to spend a few hours sitting some more.
To put it simply, many of us spend a lot of our day sitting. But what does this have to do with the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (or DVT)?
What is DVT?
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in a deep leg vein, or also known as the blood vessels which go through your calf and thigh muscles. Since the blood in a deep vein flows more slowly, deep veins are more likely to make a clot.
Generally, it is possible for just about anyone to have DVT, especially those who sit or stand for long periods of time. However, there tends to be a greater risk in long-distance travelers. Air travel typically comes to mind but the risk comes with any form of travel where passengers experience little movement.
What can I do to reduce my risk for developing DVT?
DVT takes time to develop and is usually only found in people who don’t move a whole lot over a long period of time. If this sounds like you, consider the following 5 tips to help reduce your risk for developing DVT:
1) Walk around. If you’re traveling by air, choose an aisle seat if possible and get up to walk around hour when the crew says it’s safe. If you’re traveling by car or bus, plan ahead for hourly stops to get out and take a short stroll to get the blood flowing through your calves and thighs again.
2) Wear compression legwear. Wearing graduated compression stockings has been known to help reduce the risk of travel-related DVT, as they are designed to keep blood from ‘pooling’ in your calves. These graduated compression stockings have to meet specific criteria to be considered beneficial for travelers at risk for developing DVT. (Try 15-20 mmHg Core-Spun by Therafirm trouser socks.)
3) Drink water. Dehydration can cause a lot of health-related issues, one of which includes making it difficult for your blood to circulate. Hydrating often helps ensure a smoother passage for blood and oxygen to circulate.
4) Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can quickly dehydrate your system and causes your blood vessels to constrict, inhibiting healthy circulation all throughout the body. Avoid alcohol altogether.
5) Stretch. Assuming you’re not the one driving or if you’re uncomfortable with walking around a crowded plane, you can always do some simple exercises right in your seat. Try raising and lowering your heels while keeping your toes on the floor, which can help loosen your joints and promote better blood flow. You may also try to contract and relax your thigh muscles, holding for a few seconds and then releasing for 10 reps each hour.
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*This is only general information and is not meant for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Always consult your physician or other health care provider about all health concerns, conditions, and recommended treatments.
By Jenna Baker. Jenna on Google+