For most people, a well-paying white-collar job definitely beats the kind of hard physical labor that can often lead to a variety of health problems as we get older – and we all love our modern conveniences. However, a sedentary lifestyle can definitely lead to its share of health issues, including deep vein thrombosis. DVT is a syndrome, in which a blood clot forms in the lower body, causing leg pain, swelling, or potentially deadly complications if the clot travels upwards to the lungs or heart. Fortunately, Dr. Farshad Malekmehr at the California Institute of Deep Venous Thrombosis offers five tips for significantly reducing your risk of suffering from DVT:
- Stay Active: You already know how important it is to stay active – both for your physical health and your mental outlook. However, for those looking to avoid deep vein thrombosis, keeping active and fit is particularly necessary. You don't necessarily need a hugely rigorous exercise regimen – simply a half hour to an hour of walking, swimming, or biking every day can make an enormous difference.
- Lose Weight: It's no secret that the battle of the bulge is rarely easy to fight, but the benefits of managing your weight through a healthy diet are well worth the effort. Get in touch with a skilled dietician or simply start paying attention to calories to make sure you're not taking in more than you're burning each day. At the very least, greasy fried foods, sugary sodas, empty calorie candies, and other diet-destroying treats should be kept to an absolute minimum.
- Get Your Blood Pressure Checked: These days, you don't need to visit the doctor's office to have your blood pressure checked. Portable machines are easier to use than ever and many drug stores also provide access to in-store testing machines. Blood pressure can rise because of stress, smoking, and weight gain/obesity as well as excessive sodium intake, among other causes. Learn how to check yours – and do it regularly – so you'll know when it's rising to unsafe levels and can alert your doctor. High blood pressure has no known symptoms, so regular testing is the only sure way to beat this condition often called "the silent killer."
- Do Stretches or Take Breaks when Sitting for Long Periods: If you're on an airplane for extended periods (4 hours or more), be sure to walk around the cabin or, if possible, do leg stretches before and during the flight. It's also important to stay well-hydrated and avoid alcohol to reduce your risk of experiencing DVT.
- Consider Alternatives to Birth Control Pills: Certain birth control pills can lead to dangerous blood clots in the veins of women who take them, according to a study published in the medical journal BMJ. If blood clots are a concern, you might want to talk to your doctor about alternative forms of contraception.
The California Institute for Deep Venous Thrombosis