What Can Double or Triple the Risk of DVT’s for Women?

July 19, 2011 by  
Filed under At Home, At Work, featured, Health, Natural Medicine, Travel

The risk of blood clots and DVT’s are well publicized in relation to air travel, but what you may not be aware of is that just prolonged sitting around at home or the office can also be potentially life threatening – particularly for women.

New research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) shows that although the greatest risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is surgery, most people associate it with long-haul flights and the Pill but they could be tragically mistaken. The amount of time spent sitting every day – wherever you are – means you could be putting yourself at risk of developing potentially life-threatening blood clots.

This study was done in the USA, and found that women who sat for a long time every day had double or even triple the risk of a dangerous blood clot in the lungs.
While the women most at risk had sat for more than 41 hours a week (on top of their work hours), the research is the first to prove a sedentary lifestyle increases the dangers.

DVT is caused when the wall of a blood vessel is damaged through injury, such as a broken bone or surgery, or if the blood clots more easily than normal as a result of medication or genetics. They fact here though is that it can also be triggered by the blood flow slowing down considerably — such as when you’re immobile for a long time through lying or sitting down.

What Can Help?
First of all realistically monitor how much time you do spend sitting down and reduce it in simple ways. First of all bin the TV remote and get up to change channels, if you work at a desk or on a computer get up every hour and just move around for five minutes. If you have the choice of stairs or a lift, use the stairs for at least part of the way.

When travelling try to drive no more than two hours without a break, even if you just pull into a car park and walk round it for a few minutes. By air, it is not now frowned on to get up and walk round the plane, though your way may not always be clear it is worth the effort to avoid the duty free carts or if stuck in your seat try tensing and releasing the muscles in your buttocks, legs and feet. By curling or pressing the toes down, which causes the muscles to contract and squeeze on the leg veins, helps to pump the blood along. Another way to help move blood to the heart is to wear compression stockings, which put gentle pressure on the leg muscles as studies in healthy people have shown that wearing compression stockings minimizes the risk of developing DVT after long flights. Avoid socks, or knee highs for women that have very tight elastic bands at the top and do not sit with your legs crossed for long periods of time, which constricts the veins.

Keep the fluid flowing:
Sorry, not alcohol but you need to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration as this causes blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, increasing the risk for DVT. Reducing alcohol and coffee consumption, which both contribute to dehydration, is also recommended.

If water is not your thing there is also a new fruit juice which has been proven to benefit blood circulation. Sirco™contains a tasteless tomato extract, Fruitflow®, that has been scientifically proven to have heart and circulation health benefits because in several clinical trials it has been shown to help maintain a healthy blood circulation by preventing the “clumping” of blood platelets which can lead to blood clots. The blood platelet smoothing action of Sirco™ takes effect within 1 ½ to 3 hours from drinking it and lasts up to 18 hours and is suggested as a natural alternative to a daily aspirin that many people take for this action. It fits well into the healthy Mediterranean diet eithos and comes in two 100% pure fruit juices mixes; Pomegranate/Orange and Blueberry/Apple.

You should find it in your supermarket or local health store or go to www.sircoheart.com

The World’s Healthiest Airline?

March 8, 2010 by  
Filed under featured, Health, Travel


Flying these days can present some challenges: risk of DVT, food poisoning from inadequately heated food, and all those airborne viruses so a round of applause for Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates based in Abu Dhabi. No, I have never heard of them either, but they fly from both London Heathrow and Manchester with 60 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Africa, Australia and Asia.

What’s so great about them? Well they are installing new state-of-the-art technology on their long and ultra long haul aircraft which can monitor the condition of passengers who display signs of sickness that might require immediate medical attention. Apparently the “Tempus IC” system allows cabin crew to take photo imagery and gather vital information about a passenger’s health and vital signs, including blood pressure and an electrocardiogram.

That information is then transmitted to a medical team of global experts who specialise in assistance in in-flight medical contingencies. Following their advice the crew will take a decision about what to do next for the passenger and the flight and hopefully you will be treated much more efficiently and swiftly than previously.

RDT is a British company who specialise in the development of leading-edge diagnostic device technology for use by non-experts in remote locations and have installed this technology for commercial shipping fleets, luxury yachts and with the US Military.

As someone who suffered a burst blood vessel in my eye on a Delta Airline flight and was pretty much ignored, I think this is good news and if you want more information go to www.etihadairways.com

Varicose Veins Linked to DVT

October 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Medical Research & Studies, Travel


Varicose veins are generally harmless, though not considered attractive, but a new study in Graz, Austria reveals that danger may be lurking under your skin.

There are any number of reasons to get varicose veins including family history, jobs where you are standing for long periods such as hairdressers and teachers, being very overweight and of course in pregnancy.   The most common form generally seen is superficial vein thrombosis (SVT), where the veins become inflamed and swollen.  It can be a painful condition, but most doctors don’t regard it as a major problem.
However this new research looked at a potential link between varicose veins and DVT (deep vein thrombosis) which a dangerous condition that prompts blood clotting in the legs.  Clots that break away can cause thromboembolism (restricted blood flow), and even death if the clot reaches the lungs and triggers a pulmonary embolism.

Of the 50 patients examined who had confirmed SVT it was found that one in four of them had DVT, although none had shown any symptoms.   This suggests those with varicose veins need to be alert and ask for a sonagraph screening to establish if they are at risk.

Varicose veins and Vitamin K link
One factor in keeping your veins healthy is to have a good intake of vitamin K as its importance for circulatory health is already well known.
There was an important study done in France in 2007, only on male subjects, with and without varicose veins. They found a link between getting varicose veins and low levels or no activity of a protein called matrix GLA protein.  This protein is only properly activated when vitamin K levels are adequate, so the researchers at Nantes University concluded that a dood intake of the vitamin may play a role in varicose vein prevention.

If you have any history of narrowing of the arteries in your family, then some nutritionists 5 to 15 mg of vitamin K per day, but that is considerably higher than the recommended daily allowance.
If you want to increase it in your diet then it’s mostly found in dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, also in cheddar cheese and oats.

WARNING!!! Vitamin K needs to be carefully monitored if you are on blood thinning or anticoagulant drugs after a stroke or surgery and a limited intake is suggested.

Deep vein thrombosis main risk not from air travel

August 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Travel


We are all aware of the risks from DVT on long-haul flights, but it seems that it might have been overestimated according to researchers at the very wonderfully named German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. They have found that DVT is very unlikely in healthy travellers, so you could ditch those unattractive flight socks, but that there is another – and very real – risk. If you have had an accident where you have to wear a cast or splint then that can mean an increased risk of DVT in the leg and pelvic area.

Why is it a problem?

Blood clots have the ability to travel to the lungs, leading to pulmonary embolism, and if for any reason you are unable to move your legs regularly, then the blood flow through your veins is slower than usual. As a result, blood may clump together, forming a blood clot which can lead to DVT. Having a pulmonary embolism can reduce the supply of oxygen to the body’s cells, overstrain the heart and even cause heart failure.

Wearing a cast or splint increases the risk of DVT

You know that if you have to wear a cast or splint that you will usually suffer unbearable itching, but most people do not know that this also increases the risk of DVT. The advice from Professor Sawicki, lead researcher in the study, is that to prevent serious complications, it is important to get back on your feet and move around again as soon as possible and medically advised. If you really can’t move then your doctor may prescribe anticoagulants to reduce the blood’s ability to clot.

If you prefer a natural approach then there are a number of foods and supplements that are known to thin the blood. These include foods with high amounts of aspirin like substances called salicylates, omega-3 fatty acids, foods with natural antibiotic properties such as raisins, cherries, blueberries, grapes, strawberries and oranges and vitamin E supplements. You might also want to avoid foods that are high in vitamin K as that helps the blood to clot and so is counter-productive. These foods include spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce and peas.

But isn’t air travel the main risk?

Surprisingly, even in higher-risk groups, the risk of air-travel-related thrombosis is still well below half a percent. Research on millions of air travellers has revealed that only about 2 to 5 out of every 10,000 people who took a flight longer than 6 to 8 hours developed DVT that caused symptoms (at the most 0.05%). Even people who had a higher risk – for example, because they had large varicose veins or were very overweight – were not highly likely to develop deep vein thrombosis: only 20 out of every 10,000 travellers were affected (0.2%). Nor was there any evidence to show that people on short flights of less than 4 to 6 hours had an increased risk of thrombosis.

If you would rather be safe than sorry – and you did invest in those special compression flight socks – then the advice is that you will lower your risk by putting them on at least 2 hours before the flight and keep them on throughout the entire journey.

DVT risk from pollution

September 21, 2008 by  
Filed under At Home, Health, Medical Research & Studies, Travel

We have become used to the idea that being immobile for long periods such as on a long-haul flight, or sitting in the same position at a desk for hours, may pose a risk for DVT (deep vein thrombosis), but now it seems that the air pollution produced by the burning of fossil fuels can drastically increase the risk of developing these potentially fatal blood clots as well. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health did some research on the air pollution levels in the Lombardy region of Italy. They chose an area where 870 known DVT patients lived, along with their 1200 healthy neighbours. When they analysed the air pollution they found that for every 10 microgram per square meter increase in particulate concentration, a person’s risk of DVT increased by a staggering 70%.

I don’t know if Lombardy is particularly polluted, but if you live in an industrial area, it would pay you to know about the warning signs for DVT – though it has to be said sometimes, there are none at all. The first sign can be chest pain or discomfort which usually gets worse when you take a deep breath or when you cough. You might have get an unexplained sudden onset of shortness of breath, which is the most common symptom, or feel lightheaded, dizzy or even a bit anxious. If you are at all concerned, please consult your doctor, and if it is a severe chest pain get immediate help.