Certain groups more at risk of suffering deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) has been thrown into the limelight once again after a perfectly healthy woman in her 30s died of the condition after she fell asleep on a long haul flight.
Even though the woman was perfectly healthy, certain groups of travellers should be aware that they are more at risk of contracting deep vein thrombosis than others. Travellers that suffer from pre existing medical conditions are often more at risk.
Deep vein thrombosis can affect any part of the body, but it’s more common in the veins in the leg. People that are confined to their bed for long periods will have a slower blood flow, meaning that it is more likely to clot.
Cancer sufferers, particularly if they have just had surgery or if they are receiving chemotherapy, are more prone to deep vein thrombosis. Heart attack patients and those with blood clotting problems are also high risk groups.
Elderly people are also more likely to suffer from deep vein thrombosis, as are pregnant women, women that are using the contraceptive pill and smokers.
Deep vein thrombosis can affect travellers on long haul flights, particularly if the body remains in the same sitting position for long periods of time, and low cabin pressure compounds the problem. Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include swollen legs and the skin might become tight or change colour.
All air passengers should take precautions on long haul flights to reduce the chance of developing deep vein thrombosis, and if you have a medical condition, you should be extra careful.
To prevent the onset of DVT, drink plenty of water throughout the flight. Wear compression socks — they encourage better circulation in your legs. Also, try not to remain in the same position for a prolonged period — move your legs around as often as you can.