Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Preventing Travel-Associated Deep Vein Thrombosis by Kyle Jindel

Frequent fliers fully understand better than anybody else the cramping and pains of sitting for extended hours, armed with a measely bag of belongings, a Sky Shopping catalog and an airplane security booklet.

Especially in Coach class, it is just slightly comfortable, but mostly cramped and restricted.

This is an all too familiar circumstance for the everyday life of regular business travellers, flight attendants, and pilots.

It even has its own label - "Economy Class Syndrome", used to identify the cramped seating and dehydration that frequently develops in travelers during long flights, bus rides, car drives, and train rides.

Those going through the long haul of travel on a weekly, or even daily basis, you are at increased risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and the deadly Pulmonary Embolism (PE).

What is Dvt and Pulmonary Embolism?

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a problematic vein clot deep in the leg where it's often not visible at all. It is more likely to affect the left leg, mainly induced by variations in the rate of blood flow, the strength of the blood vessel walls and the thickness of blood. DVT is mostly caused by surgery, but can also be elevated by smoking cigarettes, hormonal birth control methods, infections, being overweight, and of course - considerable air travel, developing DVT known specifically as "Traveller's Thrombosis".

DVT typically causes pain, inflammation, or redness in the suffering leg. Many individuals brush it off as short-lived fatigue and pain. And, while DVT itself can cause discomfort and inflammation, it's a precursor to a Pulmonary Embolism, a potentially fatal condition where a DVT blood clot flows to a essential artery in the lungs.

In the past 10 years, DVT has been an increasing concern among both health care specialists and the public, particularly among travelers.

Although there are hardly any good estimates to how many individuals are suffering from DVT specifically because of travel, it is now estimated DVT affects more people than Breast Cancer or AIDS at over 350,000 people in the United States annually. There is good news however in this comparison: DVT can be prevented through practical care and compression garments.

How can DVT be prevented?

Regarding the extensive traveller, many steps can be taken to assist in preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis. The typical doctor tips of "shed extra pounds and quit smoking" certainly apply, but choosing an aisle seat on the plane offers you some extra advantages: You have a bit of extra leg room, you can quickly get up and stretch every hour or so, making it possible for you to get your heart rate up a little bit and stretch the calves.

All these are general no-brainer suggestions, and there's also a product any regular flier should wear from the time they step into the terminal until the moment they step off of the plane - compression stockings, sock, and hosiery.

What are Compression Leggings?

Compression stockings are snug fitted garments with firm compression on the ankles that marginally reduces up the calves and thighs, known as "graduated compression". This outside force on the legs encourages blood to flow and "push" upward as it naturally ought to.

This helps to keep our blood moving along properly and encourages swifter recuperation for the lower limbs due to the extended hours of sitting vertical in cramped quarters.

Medical study has demonstrated the effectiveness of donning compression stockings and socks correctly in preventing DVT concerning travelers. Researchers have observed those wearing compression hosiery, socks, or stockings when travelling have less danger for getting DVT than to those who don't.

Choosing Compression Stockings for Travel

It's important to note that although compression stockings are helpful, there are unique reasons why, and that simply putting on a tight-fitting item of clothing is not suitable. Tight-fitting clothes or footwear not designed for compression therapy can actually restrict blood circulation and raise risks.

You should always ensure you've measured correctly and have the accurate size, manufacturer, and style of compression garments that suits your needs. Improper sizing or compression levels can bring about more harm than benefits. As a general rule of thumb, any compression over 20mmhg needs to first be advised by a physician.

Also, compression stockings do not mean you have to sacrifice style. Compression garment manufacturers such as JUZO, Sigvaris and Jobst all have varieties that feel comfortable and come in popular colors. There is a seemingly unlimited variety of options in sheer hosiery, socks, and stockings for both women and men offering the benefits of graduated compression.