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Stretch to save your heart

health and fitness Updated: Sep 26, 2010 01:50 IST
Hindustan Times
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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a common lifestyle disease, most often caused due to prolonged period of sitting in a particular position, often during long flights or long car rides. It also affects people who spend long hours standing. The disease results in the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) in the larger veins of the lower leg or the thighs.

“The clot in itself is not a reason to worry about, but the clot could be fatal if it dislodges from its original position and travels through the blood stream into the lungs, heart and on some occasions, to the brain or any other area,” says Dr Anil Dhall, director and head, cardiology at Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon.

“Under normal circumstances, the calf and thigh muscles squeeze the veins to help return the impure blood to the heart and lungs when you move, walk or run. If you are sitting in a cramped place, even at your desk, without any space to move your legs, the blood movement becomes sluggish, or remains stagnant. This can cause dehydration, thickens the blood and causes clotting,” adds Dr Dhall.

DOs and DON’Ts of DVT
Exercise your leg muscles during long trips
Do simple stretching
Wear loose clothing
Try to keep feet and legs elevated
Drink plenty of water both before and during the journey

Avoid sitting in the same posture for long durations
Don’t wear clothes or shoes that are too tight or uncomfortable
Avoid sitting with crossed legs
Avoid lying down with crossed ankles
Avoid dehydrating drinks such as alcohol and beverages such as coffee or tea