Capitol Vein Blog

Monday, July 18, 2011

Varicose Veins Increase Blood Clot Risk While Flying


Summer is a busy time for overseas flying, and many of these flights involve sitting in a rather cramped position for at least six hours at a time. Flight to Europe are often overnight, so travelers take a sleeping pill and don't move much until the plane is approaching the runway. The lack of leg activity combined with varicose veins, increases your risk of blood clot.

Sitting for so long is bad for the leg circulation as the blood flow gets rather stagnant. There isn't much to stimulate venous blood flow, and this sets up an increased risk of blood clots, some of which can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVTs are the dangerous clots that can move to the heart or lungs, causing serious health issues.

Blood flow in legs veins is augmented by leg activity (e.g. walking and leg exercises) that is difficult on a long flight, especially at night. Some people also note that they develop restless legs during these long periods of sitting, again exacerbated by lack of activity.

We strongly recommend that travelers use medical grade support hose for the duration of the flight. These socks/stockings are very snug, but not really uncomfortable, and help increase leg vein blood flow in the absence of the activity that is absent on these long haul flights. Of course, getting up and walking the aisles is advised, as is moving the legs about even while sitting.

If you have any questions about this increased risk of blood clots, or with your varicose veins, please ask a question in this blog or request a consult at one of our Capitol Vein & Laser offices.

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