Don’t suf­fer IN VEIN

DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS CAN AF­FECT ANY­ONE.

Coventry Telegraph - - HEALTH & LIFESTYLE - LUCY MADDOX REPORTS

IT’S SUM­MER hol­i­day sea­son – and while jet­ting off some­where sunny is all about fun and re­lax­ation, planes can come with their own set of health risks. The first to spring to mind is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that de­vel­ops in one of your body’s deep veins, usu­ally in the leg. It can oc­cur on dry land, but is associated with fly­ing – mainly long-haul flights – due to sit­ting in one po­si­tion for so long.

“The hu­man body was de­signed for move­ment, not to stay still. Pro­longed sit­ting – stay­ing in one po­si­tion for a long pe­riod of time – adds to the static load on our mus­cu­loskele­tal sys­tem, and pre­vents ef­fec­tive cir­cu­la­tion of blood through your body,” ex­plains Jay Brewer, pro­fes­sional head of Clin­i­cal Well­be­ing at Nuffield Health.

But, surely this is some­thing you only need to worry about once you reach a cer­tain age? Ac­tu­ally no. Here’s what you need to know if you’re trav­el­ling this sum­mer...

DVT AF­FECTS YOUNGER PEO­PLE TOO

AC­TU­ALLY, while it is more com­mon in older age groups (DVT af­fects around one in ev­ery 1,000 peo­ple, mostly over-40s), it can af­fect younger peo­ple, and there are some spe­cific risk fac­tors that may ap­ply to younger women.

Gen­er­ally, the chances of de­vel­op­ing a blood clot on a flight are slim, so there’s no need to panic. But it’s worth be­ing clued up about the warn­ing signs, and any cir­cum­stances that may mean you need to take ex­tra care.

Pro­fes­sor Mark White­ley, renowned vas­cu­lar ex­pert and founder of The White­ley Clinic, says: “While it’s true that as you age and be­come less ac­tive you have a slightly higher risk of blood clots, some of the pa­tients we see are in their 20s and 30s.

“Also, while women have an in­creased chance of de­vel­op­ing blood clots due to life­style fac­tors such as preg­nancy, or tak­ing birth con­trol, re­search has found that men ac­tu­ally have a higher rate of de­vel­op­ing DVT nat­u­rally.”

THE PILL OR PREG­NANCY HOR­MONES CAN PUT YOU AT A HIGHER RISK

PREG­NANCY can be associated with a higher risk, due to the weight of the baby re­duc­ing blood flow to the legs. Plus, hor­mones and blood com­po­si­tion change dur­ing preg­nancy, which can in­flu­ence clot­ting.

There are warn­ings that the com­bined con­tra­cep­tive pill can in­crease the risk of DVT due to the lev­els of oe­stro­gen in the pill, and oe­stro­gen can cause the blood to clot more eas­ily. How­ever, not all birth con­trol pills are linked with any in­creased risk, and cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als may still be more likely to de­velop a clot, such as peo­ple who are over­weight or have a history of blood clots.

Hav­ing a con­di­tion or treat­ment that can cause your blood to clot more eas­ily, such as cancer (and chemo­ther­apy and ra­dio­ther­apy), heart and lung dis­ease or in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease, should

also be con­sid­ered as fac­tors in the pos­si­bil­ity of de­vel­op­ing DVT. If you’re con­cerned or un­sure, speak to your GP for ad­vice.

THE SYMP­TOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR

WARN­ING signs can in­clude pain, swelling, ten­der­ness, a heavy ache in the af­fected area and warm, red skin. Of­ten the pain can be­come more se­vere when you bend your foot up­wards to­wards the knee. If you no­tice any pos­si­ble symp­toms, it’s im­por­tant to get it checked with a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional as soon as pos­si­ble.

If a blood clot is sus­pected or di­ag­nosed, you may need an­ti­co­ag­u­lant medicine to re­duce fur­ther clot­ting and stop any ex­ist­ing clots get­ting big­ger.

The con­di­tion is highly treat­able, but in more se­vere cases and with­out prompt treat­ment, se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions can some­times oc­cur – in­clud­ing pul­monary em­bolism, where a piece of the clot breaks off and trav­els through your blood­stream into your lungs.

Ex­er­cise is the key to beat­ing DVT

Are you sit­ting com­fort­ably? Even young peo­ple can fall prey to DVT, and not just on long flights

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