Serena Williams recently suffered an embolism. It was brought on by several things; inactivity, surgery and a long flight. Her ankle swelled to an abnormal size, she ignored it and thought she could just ice it down when she got home but when her flight landed she was having difficulty walking and breathing. Fortunately, she spoke to big sis Venus who was with their trainer and was urged to go to the hospital. She did not heed this warning but the trainer later showed up at her home and insisted she go to the hospital. It was then she discovered she had an embolism and could have died it she had not gotten treatment.
Embolism’s can be caused by Deep Vein Thrombosis, the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in a calf or thigh muscle. DVT can partly or completely block blood flow, causing chronic pain and swelling. It may damage valves in blood vessels, making it difficult for you to get around. A blood clot can also break free and travel through your blood to major organs, such as your lungs or heart. There, it can cause damage and even death within hours.
Here is where travel comes in. DVT can develop while on a long flight because of immobility and the other factors. If you’re on a long flight make sure you move during the flight. Take a walk up and down the aisle every 2 – 3 hours. While seated do some leg exercises like leg raises, make circles with your feet at the ankle and point and flex your feet. If you’ve recently had surgery consult with your doctor on your flight to see if it is safe for you to travel and to get advise on what to do for proper blood circulation.
Half of all DVT cases cause no symptoms. If you do have any of the DVT symptoms below — especially if they occur suddenly — call your doctor right away:
•Swelling in one or both legs
•Pain or tenderness in one or both legs, which may occur only while standing or walking
•Warmth in the skin of the affected leg
•Red or discolored skin in the affected leg
•Visible surface veins
Take these precautions and don;t ignore any of the symptoms.
Co-Host, The Traveling Eye, www.thetravelingeye.com
Owner, Advantage International, www.advantage-intl.com