Travel alert for blood clots24th August 2006
Researchers have said that travelling for more than four hours by air, car, bus or train can all increase the risk of blood clots, air travel being no worse than the other modes of transport.
Studying 2,000 people who had suffered a venous thrombosis for the first time, a team in the Netherlands found that 233 of them had travelled for more than four hours in the eight weeks preceding the event. Travelling doubled the chances of having a venous thrombosis.
The overall risk of flying was no worse than that of going by train, bus or car; the danger being greatest the first week after travelling. They found that particular groups of people, especially women on the Pill, were more at risk than others. For women taking oral contraceptives travel boosted their chances of their having a thrombosis by more than twenty times.
A mutation in one of the genes involved with clotting, factor V Leiden, especially common among people of Scandinavian descent, meant that long-distance travel was associated with an eightfold increased risk of thrombosis. The risk was increased fourfold for individuals who were more than 6ft 3in tall and almost tenfold for people who were obese. Shorter people, less than 5ft 3in, were found to have a fivefold increased risk of thrombosis after air travel.
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