July 17, 2009 | 5:26 pm
Posted by Albert Fuchs, M.D.
Prolonged immobility has long been known to increase the risk of blood clots forming in veins in the legs (the medical term for which is deep venous thrombosis). Blood clots in the legs can be quite painful and debilitating but they can also travel to the lungs which can be life threatening. So doctors use medicines or inflatable leg squeezing devices to prevent blood clots in hospitalized patients who are bed-bound. But there is a much more common time when we all are fairly immobilized – travel. On long trips we frequently sit still for hours at a time, a perfect setting for blood in our leg veins to pool and clot.
An article in the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine formally reviewed the existing studies on travel-associated deep venous thrombosis and concluded that travel increases the risk of a blood clot almost threefold, and that each 2 hour increase in the duration of travel increases the risk by 18%.
The likelihood of a blood clot in any single episode of travel wasn’t estimated, but is presumably very low, given the huge number of people who travel. So this should not make you cancel your trip to see Aunt Martha. Instead, follow these common sense suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control anytime you have to sit for longer than four hours:
That reminds me. If you happen to fly on US Airways this month, pick up their in-flight magazine. They printed my post on cyberchondria.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tips for Healthy Living: Deep Vein Thrombosis
Annals of Internal Medicine article: Travel and Risk for Venous Thromboembolism
Important legal mumbo jumbo:
Anything you read on the web should be used to supplement, not replace, your doctor’s advice. Anything that I write is no exception. I’m a doctor, but I’m not your doctor despite the fact that you read or comment on my posts. Leaving a comment on a post is a wonderful way to enter into a discussion with other readers, but I will not respond to comments (just because of time constraints).
We welcome your feedback.
Your information will not be shared or sold without your consent. Get all the details.
JewishJournal.com has rules for its commenting community.Get all the details.
JewishJournal.com reserves the right to use your comment in our weekly print publication.
12.20.13 at 9:55 am | The evidence that multivitamins do not improve. . .
12.6.13 at 10:38 am | Neisseria meningitidis strikes Princeton and UCSB.
11.22.13 at 8:45 am | Why vaccines still matter even in developed. . .
11.15.13 at 1:55 pm | A revolutionary shift in deciding whom to treat.
11.8.13 at 8:32 am | The first cases of polio in over 14 years. . .
10.25.13 at 1:04 pm | Hydrocodone combination medications will be more. . .
2.4.11 at 10:59 am | The FDA recently issued a warning about. . . (1252)
3.15.13 at 10:38 am | The FDA warns about a popular antibiotic. (27)
12.20.13 at 9:55 am | The evidence that multivitamins do not improve. . . (20)