Death By SittingBy
Sitting, if it was classified as a disease, would be the 3rd leading cause of death. Sedentary life styles could lead to diabetes, weight gain, depression, osteoporosis and some cancers. Sitting can also lead to “Deep Vein Thrombosis” (DVT) a blood clot that develops deep inside a larger vein – usually within the lower leg or thigh. Symptoms may include redness, swelling of the legs or pain and local tenderness. Deep vein thrombosis itself, has caused up to 100,000 deaths each year in America.
The immediate danger with deep vein thrombosis, is that part of the clot can break off and travel through the bloodstream, where it can lodge in the lungs causing a blockage in blood flow, resulting in organ damage, and in many cases death.
A blood clot that blocks the blood supply to the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism. Symptoms may include trouble breathing, low blood pressure, fainting, faster heart rate, chest pain, and coughing up blood. If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.
The following people have an increased chance of developing a DVT:
- People whose careers require long periods of sitting
- Long distance travelers (airplane, car or train)
- People who had recent surgery
- Anyone with extended bed rest
- The elderly
- Individuals who are overweight or obese
- People with cancer
The best prevention is exercise or movement. If your job requires extensive periods of sitting or when you are traveling for more than four hours, avoid wearing constrictive or tight clothing. Drink plenty of water, get up and walk around at least every two to three hours. If you must to stay in your seat, find ways to keep the legs active. Try clenching and releasing your leg muscles or lifting and lowering your heels with your toes on the floor.
If you are a smoker consider quitting, or if overweight begin a physician overseen weight loss program.
If you are in one of these high risk categories consult your physician about possibly using a compression stocking. Compression stockings apply pressure to keep the blood in the legs from pooling and clotting. They reduce swelling and help relieve discomfort in a leg where a clot has already formed. You can get compression stockings over the counter or by prescription. Also to reduce swelling and discomfort, keep the affected leg raised when possible.