Summer means travel. Some of us will drive in cars and others will fly in planes. Travel can also mean long periods of sitting still, and for some people, this means an increased risk of developing a DVT (or deep vein thrombosis).
From the Mayo Clinic, “DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs.” This is a serious, and potentially fatal condition “because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow.”
Who is at risk?
DVT can develop in people who sit for long periods of time without moving their legs, as well as in people who are on prolonged bed rest. Older people (age 60 and up) have a higher risk of DVT, but it can happen at any age. Other risk factors for developing DVT include pregnancy, smoking, being overweight or obese, taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.
What should you do while traveling?
Movement can help reduce the chance of developing DVT. Make time in your travel to walk, even just pacing around waiting for your flight, or once your captain has turned off the fasten-seat-belt sign. Can’t get up to walk? The Mayo Clinic recommends exercising your lower legs, “Try raising and lowering your heels while keeping your toes on the floor, then raising your toes while your heels are on the floor.” If you have a history of DVT or have risk factors, the doctor might recommend compression stockings or prescription medicine.
Heading on vacation? Stop by your nearest UNI Urgent Care Center for an exam before you go. We offer physicals, vaccinations for travel, and much more.
Have a safe and fun summer!