If you have varicose veins, then your physician may have told you that you’re at a higher risk for developing blood clots in the legs, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
DVT, Varicose Veins & Flying
If you have varicose veins and symptoms of DVT, you may want to talk to your physician before settling in for a long plane (or car) ride. During a long cross-country flight (or cross-country drive) you may not move your legs for several hours, which increases the risk for developing blood clots. As a general rule of thumb, most medical experts recommend that if you’re traveling for more than four hours, then you’re at a higher risk for developing blood clots.
Symptoms of DVT
The most common symptoms of deep vein thrombosis are:
- Swelling in the leg or arm
- Pain or tenderness in the leg or arm
- Redness of the skin
- Skin that is warm to the touch
If you experience any of these symptoms, let your physician know immediately. Bear in mind, approximately half of all individuals with DVT experience no symptoms. So, if you’re an at-risk patient, don’t wait for symptoms to show up before you talk to your physician.
Why Are Blood Clots Dangerous?
Whether you have varicose vein symptoms or not, blood clots are a serious health issue. If a blood clot breaks loose deep in the legs, it can make its way through the bloodstream to the pulmonary arteries (the blood vessels that supply the lungs with oxygenated blood). A blood clot that becomes lodged in these arteries (known as a pulmonary embolism) can cause chest pain and difficulty in breathing, and could even result in death.
How You Can Prevent Blood Clots While Traveling
Try these tips for yourself:
- Wear supportive varicose vein clothing, such as compression stockings.
- Take periodic walks in the bus or plane aisle.
- Practice toe and heel lifts, which exercise the calf muscles.
- Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol.
- Avoid crossing your legs during the flight.
Looking for a physician’s opinion in Phoenix, Mesa, or Tempe on your varicose veins? Sign up for a free varicose vein screening. Happy travels!
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.