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Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center

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A Possible Reason to Fly First Class: 'Economy Class Syndrome'


In other words, "if you don't have problems with blood clots, disregard the syndrome. It's unnecessary anxiety. If you have a history of blood clots, then prolonged immobilization from any cause should be avoided," he says.

There's a sector of the population that is genetically predisposed to developing blood clots in the leg, Fiore says. While there are genetic tests to see if you have these high-risk genes, "they are expensive and not worth the money," he says.

Other ways to prevent deep vein thrombosis while flying include the following:

  • Book a seat in an exit row, a bulkhead seat, or an aisle seat; walk up and down the aisle about once an hour.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Don't smoke.
  • While in your seat, contract your calf muscles from time to time by clenching your toes. One exercise, suggested by British Airways, is to bend your foot upward, spread your toes, and hold for three seconds, then point your foot down, clench your toes, and hold for three seconds.
  • If you are at high risk of blood clots, ask your doctor if you should take aspirin before flying to inhibit blood clotting.
  • Don't cross your legs or sit on the edge of your seat; these positions can reduce blood flow in your legs.

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