Summer is here at last, and with more pandemic restrictions lifting every day, the time has finally come to take the trips you and your family have been planning for years. But if you have a history (or family history) of blood clots or have noticed the easily-mistakable symptoms of DVT, wait a few minutes before flying halfway around the world to the destination vacation of your dreams.
Flying is particularly dangerous for patients with deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). The changes in motion, speed, and pressure all increase the chances of the cloth detaching in the lower legs and moving through the blood vessels to the lungs. This pulmonary embolism can be fatal. But if you don’t have time to talk to your doctor, don’t panic.
Pulmonary embolisms occur in roughly 1 in 1,000 people. Those aren’t great odds, but there are certainly worse ones—a person with a “moderate risk” of a heart attack has a 1 in 10 chance.
If you’re at all worried, review any symptoms you may be experiencing with your doctor to see if you can find another cause. Common symptoms include:
Pain and tenderness in the legs Unusual, localized warmth Swelling Redness
If you can’t explain them away and don’t have time for a full diagnosis (or worry while exhibiting no symptoms at all, as up to half of DVT sufferers do), you still have options.
If you wear medical-grade compression stockings, you can increase and enhance blood flow in your legs to help counteract the effects of the flight.
Make sure to drink plenty of water instead of caffeine or alcohol (which can dehydrate). Long hours in the car, on the plane, or in airport terminals make it easy to forget to take care of yourself, but hydration reduces the risks of DVT along with a host of other issues.
Wear loose, comfortable clothes. They not only restrict bloodflow less but also make for a more enjoyable experience.
Get up and stretch. Requesting an aisle seat goes a long way, and even a trip to the bathroom and back can give your legs the stretch they need.
If you’re at all worried you might experience DVT or want the peace of mind that comes from an ultrasound or scan, contact Dr. Barry Oswalt at 817-893-2661 for an appointment at our Ft. Worth, TX office.