Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Can long-distance travel be deadly?

Labor Day is right around the corner, and if you’ve got travel plans you’re in very good company. Camping trips and beach visits are great ways to celebrate these last relaxing days of summer… assuming you’re not traveling far, that is.

In a recently-published review of over a dozen previous studies, researchers found that long-distance travel can raise your risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) by as much as three-fold. What’s worse, risk increases according to the duration of your trip—up 18 percent for every two hours of any kind of travel, and a whopping 26 percent for every two hours of air travel…even if you’re otherwise healthy.
So what exactly is VTE… and why is it so deadly?

Venous thromboembolism is a disorder comprised of two very serious conditions: deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism. DVT is marked by abnormal clot formation in the deepest veins in your body—and most typically those in your legs or pelvis. A pulmonary embolism, on the other hand, occurs when this clot becomes dislodged and travels to your lungs—blocking the pulmonary artery, which results in difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate… and sometimes even sudden death.

Needless to say, these are both frightening (and very dangerous) conditions—and as this research shows, travelers are at especially high risk. But luckily, you don’t have to cancel your vacation plans this year in order to properly protect yourself. If you’re traveling far, stay well hydrated and make sure you take the time to move around and stretch your legs whenever you get the chance—both of these simple precautions can help to reduce your risk of VTE.

Quality natural supplements can also help—especially if your clotting risk is higher than most. (Cancer patients, stroke patients, women on birth control, and people recovering from major surgery fall into this category.) In my practice, I use a Tibetan-based formula for this very purpose with excellent results—studies show that this formula can significantly reduce abnormal clotting factors and boost circulation in patients with peripheral artery disease. (In fact, it’s so powerful that it’s been registered as a medicine in Europe for over three decades now—for more information, check out my free health report, Overcoming Cardiovascular Disease.)

Perhaps the most important precaution you can take, however, is familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of VTE. This knowledge can save your life, should you ever find yourself on the wrong side of these scary statistics. Pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in your leg are red flags that a blood clot may have formed—and sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, and a bloody cough are all warning signs that it may have traveled to your lungs.

If you suspect VTE during or after your next long trip, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. Quick intervention (and proper prevention) is the only way to ensure that you’re alive and healthy enough to enjoy many more vacations… and all of the long-distance travel they might require… for years to come.

SOURCE: Chandra D, Parisini E, Mozaffarian D. “Travel and Risk for Venous Thromboembolism.”Ann Intern Med. 2009 Jul 6. [Epub ahead of print]

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