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​​Who’s at risk of deep vein throm​​bosis (DVT)?

Even the healthiest souls among us can succumb to DVT, but the following are especially at risk, according to the Health Promotion Board (HPB).

  1. Travellers who are physically immobile for a prolonged period of time, such as plane passengers or bedridden patients
  2. Those aged above 60
  3. Those with inherited blood clotting conditions
  4. Pregnant or post-partum women
  5. Those who are overweight or obese
  6. Those with large varicose veins
  7. Cancer patients
  8. Those using central venous catheters
  9. Those taking contraceptive pills or who are on hormone therapy

Stop DVT from developing!

Don’t hurry to cancel that long-haul flight to your dream destination just yet. There are ways to prevent this silent killer from striking on the plane.

  1. Keep movin’: Don’t sit in a cramped position for too long. Wriggle your toes and work those ankles and knees. Make an effort to stand up and walk along the aisle to get the blood pumping. If possible, ask for an aisle seat. Studies have shown that passengers in window seats have double the risk of developing DVT.
  2. Sit right, not tight: Don’t cross your legs or sit on the edge of the seat. Wear loose clothing, and avoid stockings or socks with tight bands.
  3. Avoid alcohol and caffeine on board: Don’t let yourself be intoxicated or dehydrated before and during a long-haul flight. Instead, drink water at regular intervals.
  4. No sleeping pills either: This encourages immobility and increases the risk of DVT.
  5. Wear travel compression socks: These are designed to encourage the upward flow of venous blood in the lower limbs, thus preventing the pooling of blood in the veins and reducing the risk of blood clotting.

"Always consult your doctor if you have any health concerns with regard to air travel. This is especially true if you have an existing health condition that may increase your risk of DVT. Your doctor will be able to assess your probability of developing DVT based on your medical history and current condition”, say doctors from the Department of General Surgery at Singapore General Hospital​, a member of the SingHealth​ group.

See previous page for the causes and symptoms of deep vein t​hrombosis​.

Ref: O17​