For people with vein disease (venous insufficiency), traveling short distances isn’t usually problematic. But on a plane or car trip lasting several hours, the risk of blood clots, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) increases. When clots break free and travel to the lungs from the legs, this is known as pulmonary embolism and it can be fatal. Flights lasting 8 to 10 hours pose the greatest risk of clotting for people traveling with vein disease.
Varicose veins and risk of blood clots
If you suffer from varicose veins, the chances of developing a blood clot during air travel is increased by:
- Taking oral contraceptives
- Certain types of cancer
- Recent chemotherapy or surgery
- Older age
- History of previous blood clots
- Genetic predisposition to blood clots
Warning signs of blood clots
It may seem unlikely that you could “feel” the onset of a blood clot, but there are several symptoms that can serve as warning signs:
- Swelling of the legs, ankles or calves
- Redness or discoloration of the skin
- Increased warmth over the skin
Don’t let vein disease delay your travel
These simple steps can help you boost your circulation and protect yourself from blood clots while traveling:
- Stretch your legs: Get up and walk around the plane every few hours, or take frequent breaks during a long car trip
- Switch things up: Change positions in your seat
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and avoid drinking alcohol the night before the flight and during the flight
- Dress the part: Wear loose-fitting clothes that do not restrict blood flow and make it easier to move around
- Keep things flowing: Wear compression stockings to improve blood flow from the legs back to the heart
If you plan to travel and have circulatory problems and concerns about developing a blood clot, talk with your doctor. And if you have any of the risk factors listed at the top of this article, be sure to consult the fellowship-trained, board-certified vascular specialists at Baton Rouge Vascular Specialty Center.
Leading care for vein disease and total vascular health
With specialized, compassionate and personalized care for vein disease, artery blockages, aneurysms and other complex vascular conditions, Baton Rouge Vascular Specialty Center is considered the “Doctors’ Choice” by referring primary care physicians. We are committed to providing advanced treatments and complete support from diagnosis through recovery. We are the largest vascular and endovascular surgical practice in Louisiana and our Vascular Specialty Laboratory is among America’s premier, accredited diagnostic facilities for vascular issues.
To learn more or schedule an appointment with one of our vascular specialists, call (225) 769-4493 or click here to use our online form.