|DOH Home >> Press Releases|
PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP|
For Further Information Contact:
Editor’s Note: Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh has specialized medical training in diseases of the blood vessels and is available for interviews.
It’s important to take steps to prevent potentially fatal blood clots that can develop in travelers who sit in cramped seats for hours at a time, according to Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh, who has specialized medical training in diseases of the blood vessels.
Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition that occurs when the circulation in veins and blood becomes stagnant and you develop a blood clot in a deep vein --usually in the lower leg or thigh – causing pain, leg swelling and skin discoloration. In the most serious cases, the clot can break loose and travel to the lungs, causing potentially fatal damage to the lung and other organs. Each year, more than 100,000 deaths in the
“As a physician specializing in vascular diseases, I encourage people to take simple steps—like staying hydrated and taking frequent breaks—to protect against this often silent condition that can occur suddenly, even in healthy people,” Commissioner Alaigh said. “Although the overall risk of developing DVT is small, it increases when you travel more than four hours, or if you have certain risk factors. And the risk remains higher in the weeks following your trip.”
In addition to being potentially life-threatening, DVT can cause ongoing swelling and pain in the leg that can reduce a person’s ability to be active, and it predisposes the person to another episode of DVT.
Dr. Alaigh recommends everyone take the following precautions during long trips:
The following factors put people at higher risk of DVT and pulmonary embolism:
If you’re at high risk for DVT, your doctor may recommend that you take blood-thinning medication or wear compression stockings – specially fitted stockings that promote blood flood from the legs back to the heart. These stockings must be properly fitted, so you should discuss the issue with your doctor.
“It’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible if you develop any symptoms of concern,” Dr. Alaigh said. “About half of all people have no symptoms at all. But those who do often have swelling, pain, tenderness, or red skin in the leg or affected part of the body. In the most serious cases, when DVT has caused the blood clot to travel to the lung, a person could have difficulty breathing, a rapid heart beat, chest pain or discomfort, lightheadedness or could be coughing up blood.
“Taking simple precautions can help prevent a potentially life-threatening condition and keep everyone healthy this holiday season,” Dr. Alaigh said.
For more information on DVT, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/faq_dvt.htm.
# # #
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360