One of the main concerns that people worry about when traveling long distances, besides the common gastrointestinal illness is a blood clot. Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is characterized as a clot or thrombus forming in a vein, more commonly the lower extremity. If the blood clot continues to grow bigger, it will eventually cut off the blood circulation to the lower extremity. Once the blood clot reaches a specific size, a piece of it can break off and travel to the major organs, such as the heart and lungs. Below, you will discover several tips for preventing blood clots during long travels.
Get Familiar With The Signs
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 300 million people travel long distances every year. Whether they are traveling by bus, train, airplane or car, they are going to be at risk of DVTs. The two main factors related to the development of blood clots are long periods of sitting and body movement restriction.
By familiarizing yourself with the signs of a blood clot, you will be more prepared to seek medical assistance when needed. Having an open mind about this potentially dangerous condition can also prevent further complications if a blood develops and save your life.
Know The Risks
As mentioned above long travels can put an individual at a higher risk of developing blood clots. However, there are many risks of DVT’s including pregnancy, varicose veins, family history of blood clots, previous history of blood clots, older age, obesity, recent surgery and taking contraceptives with estrogen. You will also be at risk, if you have recently been involved in a motor accident and left with temporary or long-term injuries. If you are connected to one of these factors, you will be at a higher risk than others who are not.
Recognize The Symptoms
Educating yourself on everything about blood clots is one of the main keys to preventing them from developing during your travels. DVTs cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on the location and size of the blood clot. The affected extremity will become edematous, painful, warm to touch and red. These are the most common symptoms of a blood clot in the leg or arm.
If the blood clot travels to the lungs, pulmonary embolism, you will begin to experience sudden shortness of breath, irregular and faster heartbeat, chest pain, anxiety, lightheadedness, coughing up blood and fainting. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical assistance immediately.
Move Legs Frequently
Regardless of what type of vehicle you are traveling in, you will have limited space to move around. However, you should still attempt to move your legs as much as possible. You can do this by making frequent body movement alterations. Stretching them as far as possible and as often as possible. You can also wiggle your foot and flex your ankle just to get a bit of exercise in. If you are traveling by car, you should make periodic stops to exercise.
You can also pull your knees up to your chest and hold them there for about 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise about 10 times, because this can improve the blood flow in the lower extremities.