Trouble at 30,000 Feet

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Air travel serves as an increasingly uncomfortable way to get from point A to point B, as seats get smaller and legroom has all but disappeared in the dry air of the airplane cabin.

Circulatory Dangers During Air Travel

The combination of dehydration and cramped seating can result in blood pooling in the legs, which can trigger the formation of blood clots (a condition called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT). The longer the flight, the greater the risk.

How to Reduce the Risk of DVT

To reduce your risk of DVT, take a stroll to the bathroom or around the cabin every half hour or so and do some simple stretches while in your seat. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just some sets of ankle circles, alternating foot and knee lifts, and bringing your knees to your chest.

If you are at high risk of blood clots, consider taking supplemental prevention. There is some evidence that supplements of Pycnogenol can be beneficial in DVT risk reduction on long flights.

Sources: 

“Long-Haul Flights, Edema, and Thrombotic Events...” by G. Belcaro et al., Minerva Card, 4/18