It’s no news that working at a desk all day long is not good for health. It can cause muscle cramping, stiffness, tingling, joint pain, and leave you feeling drained. But many of us don’t think of blood clots as one possible outcome of sitting down for too long.
If you’re reading this blog post, there’s a high chance that you’re sitting down right now. The truth is that prolonged sitting, even in bed or at the computer, can lead to a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT in leg), which is caused by the formation of blood clots in legs and pelvis. It’s usually a painful thing, causing swelling, redness, and warmth, although DVT can sometimes also be asymptomatic. During normal physical activity, muscle contractions encourage blood flow, but sitting down for too long can impair blood circulation and cause the blood to pool.
Symptoms of blood clot
Sadly, blood clots don’t always remain where they are formed. They can break off and get carried away in the blood stream, until they become lodged in another artery or vein. One potentially life-threatening situation appears when a blood clot in lung causes pulmonary embolism. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath and chest pain. In severe cases, people suffering from pulmonary embolism can collapse and even die, so that’s why it’s important to treat this condition immediately.
How to prevent blood clots
Since the best cure is prevention, naturally, it’s a good idea to avoid getting blood clots altogether. Doctors and fitness experts advise people who have desk jobs or have to sit down for many hours (for example when traveling), to get up and walk a bit at least once every hour. Desk stretching exercises can also support muscle tone and improve blood circulation.
Simply standing up and siting down repeatedly, without hanging on to something for support, can do wonders for the blood vessels in your thighs and legs. Don’t laugh, it’s harder than it sounds! Try doing this a dozen times in a row when you’re on a break or on the phone. No one will know that you’re helping your body prevent blood clots!
Leg extensions under the desk can easily be performed at the office, without even drawing attention. Grab the chair seat, stretch your legs straight out and flex them several times.
Stretch your back and shoulders by hugging your legs. While sitting on the edge of your chair, extend your legs and lean forward, so that your chest rests against your knees. Next, put your arms around your legs, and grab your left wrist with your right hand. Release and repeat this exercise as any times as it feels comfortable.
Do blood clots hurt?
Blood clots usually generate symptoms depending on the area they are located in. In the legs, they can cause deep vein thrombosis, which in turn causes swelling, redness, warmth and pain, but the condition can also be entirely asymptomatic.
When a blood clot has moved to the lungs, it causes pulmonary embolism. It’s symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and palpitations.
Blood clots in the brain cause headaches, abnormal vision, and symptoms associated with stroke (seizures, and facial muscle weakness).
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