Sitting for Long Periods at Work Have Risk of Developing Blood Clots/Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
DVT may occur when the blood moves through deep veins in your legs more slowly than normal or when there is some factor that makes your blood more likely to clot. When you are bedridden (after surgery, for example) or when you sit still for a long time (such as during a long plane flight, car ride,IT workers or call center workers), your blood moves more slowly. Blood pools in the larger veins of your legs, and clots may form. Also, injury, major illness, and some medicines increase the tendency for blood to clot.Deep venous thrombosis is a condition where there is a blood clot in a deep vein (a vein that accompanies an artery).
Some people have no symptoms at all. Most have some swelling in one or both legs. Often there is pain or tenderness in one leg (may happen only when you stand or walk). You may also notice warmth, or red or discolored skin in the affected leg,but the classical symptoms of DVT include pain, swelling and redness of the leg and dilatation of the surface veins. In up to 25% of all hospitalized patients, there may be some form of DVT, which often remains clinically inapparent (unless pulmonary embolism develops).
The incidence and prevalence of venous thrombosis can only be estimated as most episodes go undetected clinically. Venous Thromboembolism [VTE] is a major source of emboli in 95% cases of pulmonary embolism [P.E], which in tuner is one of the leading causes of death in patients dying undetected.
In the United States, about 2 million people per year develop DVT. Most of them are aged 40 years or older. Statistics reveal that at least 200,000 patients die each year from blood clots in their lung.People who had recent surgery or trauma (especially hip, knee or gynecological surgery), fractures , childbirth within the last 6 months and the use of medications such as estrogen and birth control pills are also at risk.
The position of your legs when seated also increases pressure in your leg veins. This contributes to foot swelling by causing fluid to leave the blood and move into the surrounding soft tissues. Another cause of swelling in the ankles and feet may be certain medications, such as calcium channel blockers.
Foot swelling isn't a serious problem if it lasts only a short time. But excessive swelling that persists for several hours after you resume activity may be due to a more serious condition, such as a blood clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) — especially if the swelling occurs in only one leg and is accompanied by leg pain. These signs and symptoms require prompt medical attention.People who crossing their legs and ankles when they sit for long time also are at risk.
There is clinical evidence to suggest that wearing compression socks while travelling also reduces the incidence of thrombosis in people on long haul flights. A randomised study in 2001 compared two sets of long haul airline passengers, one set wore travel compression hosiery the others did not. The passengers were all scanned and blood tested to check for the incidence of DVT. The results showed that asymptomatic DVT occurred in 10% of the passengers who did not wear compression socks. The group wearing compression had no DVTs.
Office workers and taxi drivers who sit for long periods at a time risk developing blood clots in major blood vessels just like long-haul airline passenger, researchers in New Zealand said.
The Medical Research Institute of New Zealand in Wellington studied 62 people who suffered from deep vein thrombosis (DVT), including taxi drivers, IT workers and managers, and found 34 percent of the cases were a result of being seated for long periods at work.
A family history of DVT was also a significant factor in getting the disease, the study said.
"Seated immobility as a result of either work or travel accounted for nearly half the cases. Seated immobility at work may represent an important independent risk factor," said the 2005 study to be presented at the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand conference in Auckland later this month.
To date, passengers on long haul flights have thought to be the main people at risk of DVT, which is also known as "economy class syndrome".
Deep vein thrombosis is a condition where blood clots form within a deep vein, commonly in the thigh or calf. The clots can partially or completely block the flow of blood, causing swelling, pain and hypertension.
If the clot travels to the lungs it can cause a pulmonary embolism, which is potentially fatal, and can kill within hours. The condition is treatable with blood thinning drugs.
The New Zealand study found that "seated immobility at work was identified as a risk factor" if, in a four week period prior to the onset of symptoms, a worker had been seated for three hours at a time without getting up during an eight-hour shift.
Workers in an IT industry call center were at risk if they remained seated for more than one hour at a time without getting up over a period of up to 12 hours a day.
"Deskbound people in front of a computer, like IT workers or call center workers, can be seated for 12 to 14 hours a day, day after day," institute director Richard Beasley told Reuters. "Many times they don't get up for 3 to 4 hours.
"We are getting more cases (of DVT) involving people seated for long periods at work," he added.