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Until January 2001 there had appeared many reports relating incidents of thrombosis (or blood clots) occurring in deep veins of the legs of otherwise healthy people who had recently flown long distances.Such reports referred to this problem as "Economy Class Syndrome", but, in fact, the reports showed that this medical condition also occurred in passengers who had travelled in "Business Class".

WHY MIGHT AIR TRAVEL RESULT IN SOME PEOPLE SUFFERING DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS?There are a number of factors in any form of long distance travel which are thought to predispose to a condition in legs when a thrombosis may form: 1. Immobility Passengers, particularly those not seated in aisle seats, may remain immobile for long periods of time. The return of blood from the legs to the heart is greatly slowed down. 2. Dehydration Passengers who experience dehydration will have a reduced blood volume, the blood is thickened and more likely to clot. Dehydration can result from the very dry air in most jet aircraft, the consumption of alcohol and to a lesser extent of coffee and from the inadequate intake of water and non-alcoholic drinks. 3. Reduced cabin pressure and oxygen levels in aircraft.

DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS AND AIRLINE TRAVEL

An association between airline travel and deep vein thrombosis has been suspected for several years. Clots occur in the leg when the blood slows down, i.e. due to lack of exercise, when the blood thickens, either because of an abnormality with the blood or from simple dehydration due to not drinking enough water. Another cause of blood clotting in the legs is pressure on the veins, particularly behind the knees and in the calves from the seats. There may be other factors which will increase the risk of clotting in the legs, including lower oxygenation in airline passengers.Clots in the leg are not confined solely to airline passengers and have been described in passengers travelling long distances on buses and trains.

HOW WILL A CLOT IN THE LEG BECOME APPARENT?

Most clots in the leg have no signs or symptoms. They are small and after the flight simple exercises and walking around will allow the clot to dissolve without any long-term effects. Sometimes a small clot caused by flying will grow into a much larger clot. A much larger clot can cause long-term damage to the veins, leading to problems in later life. If the clot enlarges to a greater extent a piece can break off and travel to the lungs, giving rise to a condition called pulmonary embolus. A pulmonary embolus can cause pain in the chest and shortness of breath or, if it is large enough, can actually result in a collapse, sometimes leading to death. The development of a large clot in the leg is relatively rare and similarly it is relatively rare to see this clot travel to the lungs. It is clearly better to prevent the clots from starting in the leg than to treat them after they have arisen.

MEDIVEN TRAVEL- prevents the risk of thrombosis. Travel involves long periods of sitting. The result: the circulation slows down, and the blood`s tendency to clot increases (risk of thrombosis). The risk of thrombosis also affects people with healthy veins.- has been specially developed for people with healthy veins, and reduces the risk of thrombosis.- the only clinically proven travel stocking for the reduction of travellers' thrombosis.

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