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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Thrombosis threat looms large in cubicle!

Office workers more at risk from deep vein thrombosis than fliers. Ray Lilley tells more.

health-and-fitness Updated: Mar 13, 2007 15:08 IST
Ray Lilley
Ray Lilley

Office workers glued to computer screens are at greater risk of deadly blood clots forming in their legs than long-distance air travellers, the author of a New Zealand study on thrombosis said on Monday.

The study’s leader, Professor Richard Beasley of New Zealand’s privately funded Medical Research Institute, told the Associated Press that the study found that 34 per cent of patients admitted to hospital with blood clots had been seated at work for long periods.

Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a condition in which a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the legs. The condition can be fatal if part of the clot breaks off and blocks a blood vessel in the lungs.

The condition has been linked to long- haul flights and dubbed ‘economy class syndrome’, because passengers travelling coach of- ten do not have the space or opportunity to stretch enough to reduce the risk of clotting. “Being seated for long periods of time... The risk is certainly there” of blood clots de- veloping in the veins of the legs, Beasley said. “There are considerably more people who are seated for long periods at work as part of their normal day than there are travelling,” he said, adding the main groups affected are workers in the information technology in- dustry and in call centres.

The study covered 62 patients under 65 years who were admitted to hospital with blood clots. The 34 per cent finding is far higher than the 1.4 per cent of blood clot patients who recently travelled on long-haul flights, and the study showed a clear link between travel and work-related thrombosis.

“It’s the same thing occurring in a similar circumstance as travellers’ thrombosis,” Beasley noted. Some reported being seated on the job for three to four hours at a stretch, “re- flecting the very sedentary nature of our work at the moment,” he said.

A second study of seated immobility at work had results “very consistent with what we’ve found” in the first, Beasley said with- out elaborating. The study will be published next month in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

What is DVT? A condition in which a blood clot forms in deep veins of the legs, can be fatal if part of clot breaks off and blocks blood vessels in lungs.

Among office workers, those at risk include IT and call centre workers.

How to beat it:

Keep moving your legs, walk frequently.

Avoid socks with tight elastic bands. Don’t sit with legs crossed for long periods.

If you can’t get up, curl toes.

Drink plenty of fluids

Drink less alcohol and coffee.

First Published: Mar 13, 2007 14:39 IST