Travel thrombosis can affect anyone. Prevention of thrombosis while traveling is very important. Thrombosis during travel by bus, plane, etc. is a real risk of prolonged travel. Especially for long flights. The longer the journey, the risk of thrombosis rises. We know that thrombosis occurs mainly due to prolonged immobility. Thrombophilia (Leiden mutation, prothrombin mutation, or MTHFR mutation, etc.), recovering after surgery, pregnancy, hormonal contraception etc. increasing the risk.
Blood clots can form in the deep veins of the legs (veins beneath the surface, which is not visible through the skin), due to sitting with restricted mobility. The longer you’re not moving, the greater the risk of developing blood clots. Often blood clot dissolves by itself. However, serious health problems can arise when part of the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs where it causes blood vessel blockage. This is called a pulmonary embolism, this condition can lead to sudden death. The good news is that there are measures you can take to protect your health and reduce the risk of blood clots during long-distance journeys.
Tips for prevention of travel thrombosis
A long travel is often the first cause of thrombophilic complication. When traveling by plane or car for more than three hours:
- Get up and walk around the aircraft or to stop the car for a five minutes and take a walk- this improves blood circulation and helps against blood stagnation in the legs
- Exercise your legs at 30 min intervals
- Do not sit with crossed legs
- Travel in loose comfortable clothing that avoids stiffness
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic and decaffeinated)
- Consider using compression stockings
- In people with thrombophilia or a higher risk of thrombosis, your doctor will consider preventive application of heparin before the travel
For thrombophiliacs taking oral anticoagulants and having a therapeutic INR levels, the risk of developing a blood clot when traveling is small. However, you should still follow the recommendations above.