Blood clots pose an acute risk
When blood accumulates in the veins, blood clots – referred to as thrombi – can form on the walls of the blood vessels. These blood clots obstruct the blood flow and clog up the blood vessels. In most cases, blood clots form in the deep veins of the legs and pelvis. The first signs of thrombosis can be severe pain and local swelling of the leg.
Vein thrombosis (phlebothrombosis) is the most common vascular disease and usually occurs due to a lack of exercise after an operation or during long car journeys and flights. Although thrombosis can develop in all blood vessels, arterial thrombosis is considerably less common.
A blood clot can become dangerous when it dislodges and reaches the lungs via the bloodstream. There, the clot can clog the fine dendritic blood vessels which can affect the oxygen supply and even lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
Thrombosis while travelling – when sitting becomes a burden
Every traveller who sits in a restricted posture for several hours is at a higher risk of thrombosis. This applies to those on long-haul flights in particular as, in addition to restricted sitting positions, low air pressure and humidity in aircraft cabins cause a higher threat of blood clotting, which can lead to thrombosis. However, those taking long car, train and bus journeys without regular pauses and respective exercise can also be effected.
The common symptoms, such as swollen and heavy legs, can be very painful.
Those who have previously been diagnosed with thrombosis are particularly at risk of developing it once again while travelling. Similarly, people who have recently had a surgical procedure shortly before travelling or people who generally have limited mobility are also more at risk. People with a moderate risk of developing the condition are pregnant women, people over the age of 60, and those who are overweight as well as particularly tall (>190 cm) or small people (<160 cm). For those who fall into the aforementioned groups, a discussion with a doctor regarding a prescription for medical compression stockings before long-haul flights is advisable.
Those with healthy veins can also be at risk
Everyone who travels by plane or goes on a long car journey is exposed to a higher risk of thrombosis. Even if none of the aforementioned risk factors apply, you can still be at risk. However, this can be effectively prevented with little effort thanks to supportive stockings (e.g. Gilofa Travel).
You can check whether you have an increased risk of suffering from a venous disease by clicking here: