A Moment of Science

Blood Clots When You Fly?

Flying may just be more dangerous than you'd previously thought.

Cramped Airplane

Photo: Mononc (flickr)

Cramped airplanes are not only annoying they're dangerous.

It seems the more cramped your airplane seat is, the longer the flight always takes. Some folks handle this situation by just sitting tight for the entire duration, dreaming of the hour when the plane finally lands and they get to stretch.

Danger Of Clots

That may be adding danger to discomfort, studies have found. The discomfort part you already know about. The danger is that when your body is left in a cramped position for too long, blood clots can form in your feet and legs.

That’s dangerous, because a blood clot that dislodges will travel in the blood stream. And that’s nothing to play around with. If it reaches your lungs, it could even kill you!

Be Aware When You Fly!

Now, of course not every hurting leg is indication of a blood clot. For the most part it’s just cramped muscle.

But research conducted at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu showed that a surprising one out of four patients in a study group being treated for blood clots in the lower legs had been on airplanes within the past month. And a whopping eighty-two percent still had symptoms two weeks after their flight!

Keep Your Legs Moving

The problem is that sitting for four hours or more reduces blood circulation in the legs, especially if you are cramped up. So, to keep the old juices flowing, and to help lower the chance of blood clots forming during a long flight, get up and walk a little in the aisle.

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