Get out of the office to combat e-thrombosis threat, Derbyshire senior nurse advises
Office workers, and others whose lifestyles involve less physical activity, can help to stave off the risk of so-called e-thrombosis by using their free time to stay active, even if that just means going out for a walk, says Elaine Bodle, Head of Nursing at Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre.
“People assume DVT only affects those who are older and have had surgery, or those on long haul flights, but this is just not the case – DVT does not discriminate. Those of us specialising in thrombosis prevention have noticed the increasing risk of e-thrombosis – if your lifestyle involves a lot of time spent in front of computers, you may be at risk. That goes for computer gamers as well as office workers – and long-distance commuters at any age.”
DVT occurs when blood clots develop in the leg. From the thigh, there is a 10 per cent chance the clot could travel to the heart, and if it reaches the lung artery, it could stop blood flow to the lungs. Recent studies show that sitting for just an hour-and-a-half can reduce the blood flow in the vein behind the knee by half. That could increase the likelihood of DVT.
Tell-tale signs of DVT developing in the legs can include pain and tenderness in the calf, sometimes with a sensation of warmth, swelling and redness appearing. But in four out of five cases, the only outward sign of DVT developing is pain. If caught early, it can be treated quite successfully with anticoagulants, which reduce the risk of blood clots forming. However, a few simple steps can reduce the likelihood of DVT developing.
Elaine said: “The principal step is to get away from your computer frequently. If you are sitting in front of it for more than an hour-and-a-half at a time, you are increasing the risk quite significantly. When you take a screen break, make sure it is accompanied by some movement – preferably a walk away from the desk for a bit.
“In fact, you could benefit even more by going to get a drink. Proper hydration is essential to your overall health, and it significantly reduces the risk of DVT too. Even athletes can develop DVT if they don’t keep hydrated.
“And at lunchtime make sure you don’t eat at your desk – or if you do take a good walk afterwards. It is much better for your health to eat al fresco than al desko.”
You can read more on e-thrombosis and how it can be avoided on the Thrombosis UK website at http://www.thrombosisuk.org/care-overview.php#care-section3.