Certain factors can increase your risk of a blood clot when you are travelling. Blood clots are treated differently depending on the location of the clot and your health. The NHS recommend staying active to help lower your risk of a blood clot; this can involve taking regular walks. So if you have travel planned, how can you reduce your risk?
When the blood clot is deep inside one of the veins in your body, most commonly in the leg, it is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A blood clot in the leg, or arm, will include a feeling of pain – that may be sudden or gradual – alongside tenderness or warmth in the limb.
Thrombosis UK, a registered charity, has outlined some ways you can reduce your risk if you’re planning a long-distance plane, train or car journey.
It says you should aim to drink plenty of water, but avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol because it can cause dehydration.
You should also avoid taking sleeping pills “because they can cause immobility”.
Another tip is to try to do simple leg exercises such as regularly flexing your ankles.
Though when possible, the charity advises that you “move about and take short walks”.
The NHS recommends that you see your GP before embarking on long-distance travel if you’re at risk of getting a DVT, or if you’ve had a DVT in the past.
Thrombosis UK adds that being aware of risk factors, and especially of your own risk factors, “is really important in helping you to avoid and protect yourself from thrombosis”.
Indeed, there are several risk factors, according to the NHS. Some of these can be mitigated by healthy lifestyle changes.
There’s no evidence to suggest taking aspirin reduces your risk of developing DVT.
The NHS warns blood clots can be very serious and need to be treated quickly, though staying healthy and active can help prevent them.
The health body says you’re more likely to get them if you are overweight, smoke, have had a blood clot before, are pregnant or have just had a baby or have an inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment for DVT usually involves taking anticoagulant medicines. These reduce the blood’s ability to clot and stop existing clots getting bigger.
Heparin and warfarin are two main types of anticoagulant often used to treat DVT.
You may also be prescribed compression stockings to wear every day, which will improve your symptoms and help prevent complications.
NHS information says if you think you have deep vein thrombosis ask for an urgent GP appointment or call 111.