Is there a simple solution to a very serious medical problem? For many travelers, the answer is maybe. If travelers would take the necessary steps, it could help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). The main reason they don’t is because not everybody knows what DVT is, and they do not know what to do that might help prevent it. If they have some knowledge about DVT, they probably have the attitude that “It can’t happen to me.”

Let’s start with the basics. Poor Blood Circulation is a lack of blood flow to the organs and muscles in the body. Blood is what carries the oxygen and nutrients to all organs and muscles in your body. We need both to survive and function. Also, blood is suppose to cleanse the body from the carbon dioxide and the wastes produced. Poor blood circulation means a shortage of delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and a highly ineffective cleansing process.

It indicates on the Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) website at that:
“Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT is a blood clot that can form in your legs and sometimes move to your lungs, where it could be fatal.”…”DVT is a condition resulting from the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) inside a deep vein, commonly located in the calf or thigh. DVT occurs when the blood clot either partially or completely blocks the flow of blood in the vein. Complications from DVT kill up to 200,000 people a year in the United States which is more than AIDS and breast cancer combined!”

Also on the DVT website there is a special warning specifically for Travelers. It states:

“Prolonged sitting during air travels slows down circulation and increases the blood’s propensity to clot. In addition, tightly packed seating and long periods of immobility can contribute to an increased risk of DVT.

Even in young, healthy travelers, long stretches of time spent in cramped seats of an aircraft with very low humidity may set the stage for the formation of a blood clot in the lower leg.”

When you are traveling in a car, it is pretty easy to just stop regularly at the Rest Stops to get out, stretch, walk or run for a while. Trains and buses usually have a little more individual space to move around than on commercial airlines where most people fly coach. That is why it is sometimes referred to as “economy class syndrome” which is misleading terminology because it implies that people who fly in first class with a little more leg room do not have anything to worry about. That is not true. Conditions in an airplane make the risk of DVT greater than in cars, trains and buses because a thrombus (blood clot) is more likely to happen in a condition when blood is thick. This is the side effect of the thin air inside the aircraft cabin.

But whatever your choice of transportation, do not just “plant” yourself in the seat and then sit there for several hours in the same position without moving at all. The exact cause of DVT is not very clear, but prolonged immobility and dehydration can increase the risk.

Eventhough you may be squeezed in and confined in very tight area you need to do the best that you can, as much as you can, for as long as you can, to keep your blood circulating.

These are some suggestions that might help you:

1. You should drink a sufficient amount of water everyday. (not just when you are traveling, but everyday) Carry some of your own drinking water with you.

2. Avoid high consumption of alcoholic beverages and caffeine drinks like coffee and tea. Air in a plane is very dry and the temperature is warmer than you may normally have it at home. It is therefore important to remain hydrated during long flights by increasing your intake of water and fruit juices.

3. If you know that your traveling will involve you sitting for a long period of time in a tight, crammed area like an airplane, then just before and right after your trip do some type of aerobic exercise like swimming, running, fast walking, cycling or rowing.

4. Wear loose fitting comfortable clothes when traveling. Even if you are required to dress in professional business clothes, both men and women should avoid wearing tight fitting business suits. Between the local clothing stores in your area, catalog shopping by mail order and the internet, with a little effort on your part, you can find loose comfortable clothes made with some type stretch material that will make you look professional and also qualify as appropriate business attire, but most importantly it will allow you to have better blood circulation.

Because of the change in atmospheric pressure in an airplane, parts of your body can expand due to increase gas, so you should allow room for this type of expansion by wearing loose fitting clothes.

5. During the flight stand up and stretch, stand on one leg and shake the other one vigorously and then vice versa, raise your arms over your head up and down a few times, take off your shoes, squeeze and release your toes a few times, do whatever you can, as much as you can, for as long as you can to move your body around, especially your arms and legs. If possible walk down the aisle even if only once during a long flight. At the very least, if you really cannot stand up at all for whatever reason, then from your sitting position raise and lower your legs and arms a few times and shake both of your feet.

6. Do not cross your legs because it restricts the blood flow.

7. There are 2 things that you should ask your doctor about: First is to ask your doctor if you should wear support stockings that are specifically made for the purpose of better blood circulation. The second is to also ask your doctor if you should take aspirin for thinning your blood. These 2 suggestions may not be appropriate for everybody, so it is better that you check with your medical professional.

These suggestions cannot cure DVT if you already have it, and many people who have DVT do not even know it because the symptoms are sometimes difficult to detect. There is no guarantee that any of these suggestions will prevent DVT. So if you have any symptoms of pain, stiffness, numbness, tingling, swelling, skin color turning blue or purple, then ask your doctor as soon as possible because it might be a result of Poor Blood Circulation. You should get professional medical attention early before your condition gets any worse. Remember, the complications from DVT could be fatal.