It’s that time of year to pack your bags and head off to your favorite destination. But while you’re riding in the car or travelling by plane, remember to stretch those legs to help prevent a serious condition known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
DVT is a condition in which a blood clot (a blockage) forms in vein located deep within the leg. These clots most commonly occur in the veins of the leg, but they can also develop in other parts of the body. If the clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream, it can lodge in the lung. This blockage in the lung, called a pulmonary embolism, can make it difficult to breathe and may even cause death.
Certain people are more at risk than others for developing DVT. Some examples of risk factors include varicose veins, blood clotting disorders, pregnancy or recent childbirth, obesity, and heart disease. People over 40 years old, those who have had recent surgery, or those who are immobile through inactivity or wearing a cast are also more at risk for DVT.
Some people with DVT in the leg have either no warning signs at all or very vague symptoms. If any of the following warning signs or symptoms are present, it is important to make an appointment with our office for an evaluation:
- Swelling in the leg.
- Pain in the calf or thigh.
- Warmth and redness of the leg.
If you have risk factors for DVT and plan on taking a long trip this season, follow these tips to reduce the likelihood of developing a blood clot:
- Exercise legs every 2 to 3 hours to get the blood flowing back to the heart. Walk up and down the aisle of a plane or train, rotate ankles while sitting, and take regular breaks on road trips.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids; avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Consider wearing compression stockings.