DVT and Travel
Research has shown that there may be a correlation between DVT and travel. Sitting for long periods of time while traveling may cause a DVT, since blood flow to the heart is slowed in this position. When you are active, the muscles of the legs squeeze the veins and move blood to the heart, which helps prevent DVT.
An Introduction to DVT and Travel
Sitting for long periods of time in cars, trains, or buses may cause DVT (deep vein thrombosis) if you are sitting inactive the entire time. Children who travel don't appear to be at risk for DVT because they are generally more active in their seats than adults.
Below are some DVT prevention strategies for people who travel:
- It is important for passengers to keep moving their legs to help the blood flow, even while waiting in the airport terminal. When you walk, the muscles of the legs squeeze the veins and move blood to the heart.
- Another way to help move blood to the heart is to wear compression stockings, which put gentle pressure on the leg muscles. According to the American Health Association, wearing compression stockings minimizes the risk of developing DVT after long flights. Compression stockings are available at medical supply stores.
- Avoid regular socks with very tight elastic bands at the top, and avoid sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time, which constricts the veins.
- When sitting for long periods of time you should curl or press your toes down, which will cause the muscles to contract and squeeze on the leg veins. This helps pump the blood along.
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Dehydration causes blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, which increases the risk for DVT.
- Reduce alcohol and coffee consumption, which contributes to dehydration.
- Take aspirin.
- When traveling by car, don't take a 10-hour trip without stopping every couple of hours. Get out and walk a bit, even if you are the driver.