There are many situations where you may be remaining in one position for long periods of time. This presents risk to your cardiovascular system. Setting up a simple management program to help lower the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is important. What is it? It is a clot in your deeper veins. Different groups of deeper veins can present more risk, but prevention from any DVT is always the best management. How do we develop a programme to do this? Always consult your doctor to check that there are not any additional measures you are required to take, but I will describe a set of recommendations for you to follow. Examples include when you are a passenger in an Aircraft, bus, car or train, and you are not moving for long periods. Some of the following guidelines will help you to avoid DVT’s:
- Try and get up every 20 minutes and have a short slow walk. Reason: One of the major methods of returning blood from the lower limb back through the cardiovascular system to the heart, is muscle contraction of the calf muscles and associated muscles in the legs. The contraction of these muscles assists in creating a pressure in the vessels to return blood to the heart. As it is activity, it is also increasing the speed of the blood cells in the blood vessels. This causes a stress shearing effect of the blood cell against the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels, and increases their metabolic function, again helping to prevent the clot forming on the blood vessel wall. See my book “Lets learn about Power of Activity” to learn more strategies to defend against heart and cardiovascular disease.
- Exercises are an important addition to reducing risk of DVT’s when travelling or being inactive for long periods. At Hip2Toe Plus Dr. Jeremy Hawke (Podiatrist) can set exercises to carry out during your flight, to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular system clotting.
Remain well hydrated, and do not cut back on drinking water so you don’t need to go to the toilet. This practice just creates extra risk. Getting up to go to the toilet is an excellent excuse to go for a walk, and ask for another glass of water while you are doing it. Reason: Remaining well hydrated allows your blood to be well hydrated, and helps to prevent excessive settling and stickiness in blood cells, they are more able to move through blood vessels and create the stress shearing effect on the blood vessel walls.
DVT during air flights may be considered relatively uncommon, but even so you want to guard against risk where you can. International flights have been cited in research to increase DVT risk by up to 12% on long haul flights. You can keep this in perspective, as it is 100 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than from a DVT on a plane flight. Undergoing surgery can increase the risk by up to 20%, with a 40% higher risk of developing a DVT following orthopaedic surgery. Vascular assessments and advice regarding any further investigations can be carried out in our surgery, and pre-flight assessments can also be carried out, if you intend to travel in the future. Please contact our surgery on (07)40543330 or visit our website at www.hip2toe.com.au for an online booking.