Deep vein thrombosis is the term used to describe when a blood clot forms in a deep vein inside your body, and is most likely to occur in your lower leg, thigh or pelvis.
Although DVT can affect everyone, there are some people that may be more at risk of developing these blog clots, especially on a long haul flight. In many cases, the thrombosis will not have any outward symptoms, making them very difficult to detect, therefore it is a very good idea to find out what can put you at risk.
- If you have already had a blood clot at some point in your life, you are more likely to develop another. About 30% of the people who have had DVT will have it again in their life.
- Like many conditions, the likelihood of developing DVT is hereditary, meaning if someone in your family has had DVT, then you are automatically more at risk, and if both your parents have had it, your chances are higher still.
- The chances of developing DVT just increases with age, therefore if you are over the age of 40, then you are much more at risk than someone in their 20s.
- When you are expecting a baby, the levels of oestrogen hormone rise, causing your blood to clot more easily. That’s why if you take birth control bills or are on a hormone replacement therapy, your risk factor also goes up, as these drugs often also contain the hormone.
- The higher your BMU, the greater you are at risk of DVT. The best way to combat this is to simply lose weight, something that is often highly advised.
- If you already have other certain health issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease or lung disease, you are more likely to develop DTV. The same applied to people who have cancer.
- Prior injury to the muscle or bone could mean that you nearby vein was damaged in the process. If this is the case, then a blood clot is much more likely to occur. The same applies if you have had major surgery to your pelvis, hip, leg or stomach.
These are just a few of the cases where you may be more at risk of developing DVT. Although DVT can develop at any time, the risks are even higher when you are on a long haul flight, thanks to the extended duration of sitting still. For tips on how to make long haul flights more manageable see our article on 10 Ways to Survive Long Haul Flights.
Although you can’t change many of the things that could put you at risk of DVT, there are certain things that can be done to reduce the risks and keep the blood moving through your body the way that it should. The most important tip is to not sit still for too long. You should get up and stretch or move around at least every 2 hours. It will even help if you move your legs around when you are seated or laying down. To learn more about tips to avoid DVT, see What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and how does it impact air travelers?
Additionally, when you are travelling for long periods of time, make sure to wear loose clothing, drink lots of water and avoid alcohol. If your body doesn’t have enough fluid, then your blood vessels are narrower, and a clot is more likely to form. If you think you are at risk, one of the best things to do before you travel is seek the advice of your doctor.
There are many travel accessories out there that have been designed to help with DVT prevention. Compression socks are a common carry on travel item that are worn by many on long haul fights. Other travel gear includes a portable airplane footrest, which aids in DVT prevention when flying.