Deep Vein Thrombosis and Sitting at Work

Have you heard the rumor that you can get Deep Vein Thrombosis whilst sitting at your desk at work for prolonged periods of time?

Deep Vein Thrombosis which is commonly referred to as DVT is a disease of the circulation. It occurs most often in people who have not been able to exercise normally. Blood passing through the deepest veins in the calf or thighs flows relatively slowly and when DVT occurs it moves so slowly that it forms a solid clot that becomes wedged in the vein. Yes this is serious but don”t become too worried, it”s very rare affecting one or two mainly older people in a thousand.

DVT themselves are not life threatening, but they are associated with complications that can be fatal. The most common serious complication is a pulmonary embolism that occurs in between one in three of four cases of DVT. A clot lodged in the leg vein breaks off and travels through the body to the lung, where it becomes lodged causing severe breathing difficulties. Untreated, up to one in ten people who suffer a pulmonary embolism die as a result.

This is a condition that is more commonly associated with people taking long haul flights. Apparently you can however suffer from this by sitting at your desk at work for prolonged periods of time without exercise. Case law has provided evidence in the UK from a reported case in the UK and New Zealand. In both cases it occurred to people who had been sitting at their desks for eight hours plus in one day without getting up and moving around to exercise. The case in the UK involved a freelance computer programmer from Bristol. He collapsed with a DVT after an eight hour shift.

How do you prevent DVT at work?

Plan you activities of computer use so that your daily work is periodically interrupted by suitable changes of activity away from your PC monitor screen. This will also help your eyes recover fully form staring at the screen potentially causing headaches or eye strain. Any opportunity for exercise should be taken away from your desk environment.

Try to ensure have a mixture of screen and no screen based work. This should not entail a major rethink, as most jobs to some extent can be taken away from your desk. If they don”t then think about incorporating some job rotation into your working day which includes getting up and moving around at regular intervals.

Foot exercises whilst sitting down are also beneficial in preventing DVT. Rotating the ankles and wiggling the toes prevents blood pooling in the feet then struggling to climb up through the veins. So fidgeting is good for you


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