DVT Economy Class Syndrome
Sitting in badly designed seats in a cramped space for long periods may cause deep vein thrombosis otherwise known as DVT. Evidence is now emerging from a study carried out by John Scarr, consultant surgeon at the University College hospital, London, England that DVT could be the cause of the so called economy class syndrome that can affect one in ten flight passengers. Coach passengers on long haul journeys may also be at risk. A new report to be published in 2005 by Frits Rosendaal, a clinical epidemiologist at Leiden university, will substantiate that travelling for more than four hours without exercise will increase the risk of thrombosis from 3 in 10,000 to 15 in 10,000 over the following two months. Travellers who are overweight, take the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) run the greatest risk.
Blood clots in a major vein such as the legs or pelvis can move through the bloodstream and cause a fatal pulmonary embolism - obstruction of a blood vessel in the lungs. One early sign of DVT can be swelling of the legs and pain whilst breathing. Before travelling passengers on long haul flights should consult a doctor for advice on medication to dissolve possible blood clots. The doctor may prescribe junior aspirin, but always consult a doctor before taking any medication. Standing up and moving around every three quarters of an hour during the flight can help to prevent DVT. Drinking water and squash are recommended, but alcohol should be avoided. People who suffer from swollen ankles or feet may find a support stocking of benefit. If in any doubt consult your doctor.
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