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Taking a Holiday Trip? Protect Yourself From Blood Clots
Sitting for long periods puts you at risk for potentially deadly deep vein thrombosis

By Robert Preidt

FRIDAY, Dec. 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans will travel afar to celebrate the holidays, potentially putting themselves at risk for deadly blood clots.

Sitting for long periods in a car or airplane can limit blood circulation and cause a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). In DVT, blood clots form in the deep veins of the lower legs and thighs.

A clot can travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the brain, lungs, heart and other areas, causing severe organ damage and even death.

But deep vein thrombosis is easy to prevent, according to Dr. Alan Lumsden, chief of cardiovascular surgery at Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center.

"If you plan to travel overseas or cross-country, make sure you get up and walk around at least every two hours, and try not to sleep more than four hours at a time. Drink plenty of water or juices, wear loose-fitting clothing, eat light meals and limit alcohol consumption," he said in a heart center news release.

If you're a senior or have circulation problems, it's also a good idea to wear compression stockings. They will help prevent clots from forming, Lumsden said.

If it's not possible to get up and move every couple of hours, he suggested this workout while sitting down: Extend both legs and move both feet back and forth in a circular motion. Move the knee up to the chest and hold the stretch for at least 15 seconds. Put both feet on the floor and point them upward, and then lift both heels as high as possible.

Deep vein thrombosis affects about 2 million Americans a year, and nearly 200,000 die, according to the heart center.

"Symptoms include pain and tenderness, swelling, redness, and increased warmth in one leg. In some cases, a physician might suggest that a patient go on blood thinners or simply take an aspirin before and during a long trip to avoid DVT," Lumsden said.

People who are pregnant, or who have a history of heart disease, cancer or blood clots should always consult with a doctor before a long trip, he advised.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on DVT.

SOURCE: Houston Methodist Hospital, news release, November 2016

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=716924

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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