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How can I reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis?

The risk of DVT is greatest in people who:

  • are over 40 years of age
  • have had previous blood clots
  • have a family history of blood clots
  • are suffering from or who have had treatment for cancer
  • have certain blood diseases
  • are being treated for heart failure and re-circulation problems
  • have had recent surgery, especially on the hip or knees
  • have an inherited clotting tendency such as thrombophilia

DVT is also more common in women who:

  • are pregnant
  • have recently had a baby
  • are taking the contraceptive pill
  • are on hormone replacement therapy

These groups account for 90-95% of all those who get DVT.

Reducing the risk of DVT

As an air passenger, you're advised to walk around and exercise your feet and legs where possible.  Here is some more advice:

  • Wear elastic stockings
  • Be sensible about alcohol, which leads to dehydration and immobility
  • Avoid taking sleeping pills, which may also cause immobility
  • Drink plenty of water during the flight
  • Consider taking medical advice if you believe you fit one or more of the above increased categories.

The important thing to remember is that the vast majority of air passengers do not need to take any medication on long haul flights to prevent DVT. All air passengers, even those at greatest risk, can reduce the chances of getting DVT by observing the advice above.