Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when the blood clots in a vein, predominantly in the leg. The condition is potentially life threatening and it can affect anyone of any gender, race, age, or physical condition. It is caused by prolonged inactivity. Sitting in the same position for a prolonged period of time is one the main causes of DVT, which is why it is important for frequent long distance travellers, or people who work on computers for many hours, to take the necessary precautions to prevent the condition from occurring.
What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?
DVT commonly occurs in the deep vein system of the lower leg, between the ankle and upper calf. A blood clot (thrombosis) in the deep vein system is a very serious condition, which can be fatal because it is very difficult to diagnose the condition through external examination. A clot will form quickly and detach itself from the vein wall in a matter of hours. The clot will travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the heart or lungs before it is possible to get help from a physician. Death is swift and sudden.
The problem with DVT is that the affected individual may not realize their condition before it is too late. Symptoms, if they occur, include muscle tension in the lower leg, a cramp in the calf with some swelling or a dull ache. The condition tends to occur very rapidly, giving little time for these symptoms to appear.
Clots caused by DVT can cause extensive tissue damage, skin lesions, and treatment may require amputation of the affected limb.
As morbid as the condition may sound, it can be easily prevented. It is important for travellers and people in general to be aware of the condition and how it can be prevented.
Using Graduated Compression Socks and Stockings
Graduated compression stockings and socks are the most common form of preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis among other conditions. The socks are designed to create maximum compression at the ankle, with a gradual reduction in pressure up the length of the sock. This design forces the veins in the upper body to to supply more blood into the legs and thereby correcting poor blood flow.
These socks and stockings are highly recommended by physicians for people who travel frequently or people who tend to sit in one position for an extended period of time. They are available in styles for both men and women, and they look just like ordinary socks.
Alternative Methods of Prevention
There are other ways of preventing the condition from occurring if you find wearing special socks and stockings too cumbersome. Standing up and taking a short walk after every hour of sitting is one of the simplest ways of preventing DVT. It doesn’t matter if you’re in an airplane or bus, just stand up and stretch your legs for a few minutes to allow blood to flow freely to your legs. This is a method that is highly recommended for people who sit too long for work purposes. Take a break once every hour, stretch your legs and unwind. This technique could potentially save your life.