David Martin, RN, CRNFA, of VeinInnovations, gives us some valuable information about deep vein thrombosis and what to be on the look out for when traveling long distances.
Recently I read an article by a fit, 50-something Delta Airlines pilot named Steve Powell, who was stricken with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a common condition among pilots because they have to sit in a cramped position for long periods of time.
As many of you will be traveling to escape winter’s cold, it is important to learn about this disease and ways you may be able to prevent it. DVT is a clot in a deep vein and is a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical care. If the clot breaks free, it can travel to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. DVT is blamed for the deaths of more than 200,000 people each year, but it likely kills many more.
Sitting in a confined space or traveling for long periods does increase the risk of DVT, but there are other factors that contribute as well, including inherited disorders, certain medication or vein injuries.
There are ways to help prevent it, such as getting up and moving around regularly, especially if you will be in a situation where you’ll be seated for a long period of time. Also, with your doctor’s permission, wearing compression hose may help.
Happily, the pilot lived to tell the story and is now raising awareness of the dangers of ignoring the following symptoms:
- Swelling in one or both legs, including swelling in the ankle and foot.
- Pain in the leg which can also include pain in the ankle and foot.
- Warmth over the affected area.
- Changes in skin color of the legs or feet, such as turning pale, red or blue.
If you develop any of these symptoms, do not ignore them. Make sure to head to the emergency room immediately and seek medical attention.