If you’re one of the millions who will travel for family gatherings and other holiday events over the next few months, keep in mind that those long hours of sitting can put you at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Jacksonville vein specialist Dr. James St. George, founder of the St. Johns Vein Center, offers tips for reducing your chance of DVT.
According to the American Heart Association, one of every 1,000 Americans develops DVT each year, and long trips in cars or airplanes contribute to many of these cases. During prolonged periods of immobility, the blood flow in the legs is restricted and slows down. Slow moving blood may clot. If it clots in the deep veins of the leg, this is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT. In the most serious cases, a piece of the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs. Known as pulmonary embolism, this condition is potentially fatal if the clot is large.
Reduce Your Risk of DVT and Blood Clotting:
◍ Keep moving. Take every chance you can to take a quick walk or stretch your legs. Walk up and down the aisle once an hour on long flights. If you’re unable to leave your seat, curl or press your toes downward periodically. This causes the calf muscles to contract and squeeze on the leg veins, helping to pump blood along.
◍ Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid coffee and alcohol as they dehydrate you, making veins narrower, blood thicker, and more likely to get a clot.
◍ Support Circulation. Avoid crossing your legs or wearing socks with tight elastic bands at the top. Wear compression stockings if you’re at particular risk for DVT. Risk factors include being overweight, older than 60, pregnant, smoking, birth control pills or having a family history of related venous conditions. Also, opt for water or juice over coffee or alcoholic beverages which will dehydrate you.
If you have questions about DVT, call 904-402-VEIN (8346) to schedule a consultation with Dr. St. George. And from all of us here at St. Johns Vein Center, have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season!