The long queues at the airport, narrow seats, and travel delays for long distances all lead to extended periods of standing and sitting.
The situation is worse when traveling in economy, as the conditions are usually quite cramped.
With this risk comes the possibility of deep vein (DVT), a deadly blood clot that forms in a vein.
While usually found in the leg, it can move to the lungs and cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, which can kill very quickly.
Some research shows that it is more prevalent in the rear of the aircraft, but it can occur anywhere.
According to scientists, blood pooling is caused by the tight sitting position and the prolonged inactivity.
A study conducted in 2021 showed that air travel exceeding eight hours increases the risk of DVT.
A study published in New England Journal of Medicine showed that DVT is significantly more common in long-haul flight passengers (more than 6 hours in duration) than the general population.
Brazil’s third explanation blamed immobilisation and low humidity.
People are also more susceptible to cancer if they have a high BMI, age, a history of surgery, use oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, and are taking HRT.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “over 300 million people fly long distances (typically for more than 4 hours) every year.
The risk of blood clots or deep veins thrombosis is high for long-distance travelers.
The deep veins in your legs can become enlarged when traveling because you sit still for long periods in a small space.
The longer you remain immobile, your risks increase.
The NHS estimates that around 1 in 1000 people will be affected by DVT in the UK every year.
The most vulnerable are those aged over 40.
A family history of bloodclots is another risk factor, as are being inactive or overweight for long periods.
Both HRT and the combination of HRT increase the chances that your blood will clot.
You can reduce the risk of travel by taking certain precautions before, during, and after your trip.
1. Smoking is harmful to your health.
According to NHS, smoking causes blood vessels narrowing and blockage.
Refraining from smoking prior to a flight will reduce your chances of getting DVT.
Dr. Rob Hicks: “Refraining from smoking is a vital step in improving circulation.
It damages and narrows your arteries, preventing your blood to circulate as it should.
After just 20 minutes of not smoking, you’re pulse rate begins to return to normal.
The blood flow improves in two to twelve week without smoking.
2. Reduce your consumption of fast food
A healthy diet that is free of ultra-processed food is associated with a smaller body weight, and a BMI.
Weight loss is beneficial as a high BMI can be a risk factor.
It is due to the fact that obesity can cause blood to stagnate in your veins. This increases the risk of thrombosis.
Travelling is a great way to meet new people.
3. Drink plenty of water
Most people avoid drinking too much fluid during long trips to prevent frequent toilet visits. However, it is important to consume enough liquids.
When you’re dehydrated, you can expect your blood to become thicker, circulation will become worse, and you may be more likely to experience clotting.
Avoid excessive alcohol or caffeine as these can cause dehydration.
4. Wear compression socks
According to the NHS, compression stockings and socks may be recommended if your risk for DVT is increased.
By choosing the correct size you can reduce your risks.
Fit for Travel is a service run by the Health Service. It recommends that you speak to your GP for advice.
5. Keep Active
Blood clots are a serious problem if you spend long periods of time sitting or standing.
Slow blood circulation in veins can result from prolonged immobility. A clot may form within the deep vein.
Fit for Travel says that a simple stretch of the legs, such as walking up the aisle or around the cabin can help improve the blood flow.
While sitting, you can do ankle circles and leg lifts as well as shoulder rolls, neck stretching and wrist movements to reduce tension, improve circulation and keep your muscles moving.
6. Upgrade your room
DVT is sometimes called ‘economy-class syndrome’, but that can be misleading.
Sarah Brewer told Central Recorder in the past: “The problems are not limited to flights that take place on long-haul routes or those taking place only in economy class.”
Some deaths are linked to short-haul flights, including those in first and business class.
If you’re traveling for four hours and more, your chances of getting a vein thrombosis double. This applies to all modes of transport, including planes, cars, coaches, and trains.
Having more space gives you the opportunity to move around more.
Choose an aisle seat if you are able to do so. This will give you more room for movement.
Upgrade your seat to a larger one with more legroom.
7. Take action
Try to keep up your physical activity when you return from your vacation and maybe even resume work.
Set a clock to prompt you to move around regularly if your work involves you sitting down at your desk.
DVT is a condition that can occur up to 8 weeks after returning home.
It was partly compiled by Mobility Furniture Company.
If you have any health concerns, contact your GP before travelling or call NHS 111.