Living in Hawaii you are no stranger to long flights during the holidays. Whether you’re going home to visit family, or taking a winter vacation to find some snow, the plane ride is likely to be grueling. At Oahu Spine and Rehab we want you to be cautious this holiday season in your travelling. If you are spending longer than four hours sitting down at a time you are at a moderate risk of developing a blood clot in your legs.
A blood clot is caused by the lack of circulation into your legs because of being sedentary too long. Luckily in Hawaii the options for long car trips are slim to none, but this doesn’t change the fact that the shortest flight out of the state is at least five hours long. Smaller blood clots can be minimal and require very little treatment. Deep vein blood clots can break away from their original source which can lead to problems in other places in the body. If a blood clot originates in the arteries of the heart they can block the flow of blood into the heart and this can cause a heart attack.
There are a lot of conditions and factors that cause blood clots.
The most common factors are:
Family history of blood clots
Prolonged sitting can also be a factor that can lead to blood clots, especially if one or more of the above factors is also involved. Encouraging circulation on long trips is ideal.
Follow these best practices for extended trips:
Drink plenty of liquids on long trips to ensure your body is not immobile and dehydrated. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
If you are on the bus and stuck in traffic for over an hour make sure you stand up and walk up and down the aisle after a stop.
It is important that while you are on the plane you are not staying seated for the entire flight. Every hour try to get out of your seat and walk up and down the aisle and stretch.
Try to do minimal stretches while you are seated. Flex and point your toes or stretch your arms over your head.
Don’t wear clothes that are tight on your waist or legs.
Be aware of the signs of a blood clot on your arm or leg which include: swelling, redness, numbness, or pain. Your leg can also develop a bruise like tint or the area of the leg feeling warm to touch. If you have more serious side effects such as shortness of breath or weakness in your limbs or difficulty speaking, seek emergency care.
If you have an extended holiday trip planned, give us a call and set up and appointment and we can make a plan today to put you at the least amount of risk for the holidays.