Keep Your Veins Safe from Deep Vein Thrombosis When You Travel
Don’t let the fear of blood clots get in the way of your adventures. Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent deep vein thrombosis.
Nothing ruins a vacation like a trip to the emergency room. Did you know that one of the most common causes of emergency hospitalization, especially for adults over 60, is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
Luckily, there are easy steps you can take to avoid this largely preventable condition and keep your travel plans problem-free.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis is the technical term for what’s commonly known as a blood clot. Usually, these clots develop in the large veins that help return blood from the legs back up to the heart. DVT is problematic because it blocks the flow of blood through the veins, causing the surrounding tissue to fill with fluid and become irritated and painful.
In addition to being uncomfortable, this condition is also potentially dangerous. Sometimes, the clot can break off and travel up through the heart and into the vessels that feed the lungs. This is known as a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening because it causes difficulty breathing and makes it hard for your lungs to get oxygen into your blood.
Pregnant women and people suffering from certain kinds of cancers are especially susceptible to DVT. Anyone who has been immobile for a long period of time may also be at risk, which is why travel can trigger the condition. Long car trips or plane flights can spell trouble for your veins, but fortunately the condition is preventable with a few easy lifestyle modifications.
How to Prevent Blood Clots
When it comes to DVT prevention, mobility is the best policy. If you’re on an airplane, try walking up and down the aisle every hour or so. On a long car ride, get out and stretch your legs every couple of hours. If neither of these options are possible, even just flexing your ankle (like you’re pushing the accelerator pedal in a car) 20-30 times every hour can be a tremendous help.
Another important step to preventing DVT is wearing compression stockings (if they’ve been prescribed to you). Compression garments are designed to be tighter at the bottom than they are at the top, so that they can help your veins move blood up from your feet and back to your heart. This is helpful because it prevents blood from pooling, which is one of the common causes of blood clots.
Finally, it’s important to stay well-hydrated. Drinking enough water will prevent your blood from thickening, as thick blood has also been found to cause blood clots. Alcohol, which tends to dehydrate you, has the opposite effect. So if you’re on an airplane or long car ride, skip the booze and grab a bottle of water instead.
DVT can be dangerous, but can be prevented. If you think you may be suffering from a blood clot, or just want to be proactive about your vein health, set up an appointment with the specialists at the Center for Vein Restoration today.