The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes an abundance of food, festivities, and family. For many, the holiday season is preceded by long travel times in a seated position. It is important to stay aware about this specific position, as it could cause harm to your health in the long run. Centers for Vein Care wants you to enjoy holiday festivities without health complications by pre-planning preventative care.
The risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or a blood clot within a deep vein, increases when in a seated position for a long time, such as on a plane, bus, train, or car when traveling. DVT, normally occurring in the thigh or calf, is a serious condition that could cause life-threatening complications if not prevented.
This holiday season, doctors from Centers for Vein Care are urging the public to get informed about the symptoms and risks of DVT before they begin their holiday travels.
“The best way to prevent DVT is by knowing the symptoms and how to reduce your risk,” Dr. Keerthi Prasad said of Centers for Vein Care. “When it comes to your health, a little prevention goes a long way.”
Knowing if you are at an increased risk for developing DVT is the first step in your plan for health this holiday season. Those with an increased risk for DVT include pregnant women, postpartum women who have given birth within the previous 6 weeks, people with disorders that promote excessive clotting, those who are overweight, those with low blood flow in a deep vein (caused by surgery, immobility, or injury), those with varicose veins, or people older than 60 years or age. Some people currently undergoing cancer treatments or who are taking certain types of birth control pill or hormone therapy may also experience an increased risk for DVT.
For some, DVT is symptom-less. For others, symptoms may include pain, swelling, or tenderness of the leg. The discomfort felt in the affected leg often begins in the calf and can feel like cramping or soreness. Reddening of the skin or a feeling of warmth on the affected leg may also be experienced.
Untreated DVT can result in a pulmonary embolism (PE), a life-threatening condition when a clot releases itself and travels to the lungs. Common symptoms of PE include chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood. Other possible symptoms include discolored skin, excessive sweating, irregular heartbeat, fever, or dizziness. Those experiencing any symptoms of PE are encouraged to seek immediate help.
“For some, the first sign of DVT occurs after the thrombus, or blood clot, has traveled to the lungs,” Dr. Keerthi Prasad said. “The majority of all cases of pulmonary embolism are caused by clots in the legs. This is why prevention becomes crucial in our battle against PE.”
To reduce the risk of DVT during travel, people are encouraged to move around as much as possible.
“The easiest way to lower your risk of clots in the leg is to use them,” Dr. Keerthi Prasad said. “Get up and move whenever possible. If you have trouble remembering to move, set a reminder on your phone to get up once an hour. If walking around isn’t an option, curl your toes in the seated position, thereby flexing your calf muscle and encouraging blood flow.”
Travelers can also reduce their risk by preparing before their travel. Wearing compression stockings and loose-fitting clothes can help reduce the risk of developing DVT. Compression stockings, generally available at healthcare stores, pharmacies, and airports, put gentle pressure on the muscles and prevent swelling of the leg. Pants, undergarments, and non-compression socks, however, should be loose fitting as to prevent the restriction of blood flow.
Travelers can also prepare by staying hydrated and avoiding alcoholic beverages before and during travel. Drinking alcohol or coffee before or during a flight can encourage dehydration, making veins narrower and blood thicker. This increases the risk of clots forming. Travelers are also encouraged to keep their legs uncrossed and to avoid sleeping pills while traveling.
Centers for Vein Care encourages everyone to have safe travels this holiday season.
“With a little bit of prevention,” Dr. Keerthi Prasad said, “We can all safely travel and enjoy the holidays this year.”
For more information on the Centers for Vein Care, please visit https://centersforveincare.com/.
2211 Roosevelt Rd Valparaiso, IN 46383
Visit Centers for Vein Care Partner Profile