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Economy Class Syndrome

As air travel increases each year, Americans can expect to hear and see more news about the term “economy class syndrome” (ECS). This term is used to describe the leg symptoms experienced by frequent air travelers or air passengers on long trips, and has been associated with the serious leg condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). While there is a heightened concern about this condition among air passengers, many people are not aware that there are easy, effective and economical solutions that can reduce the symptoms of ECS and decrease the risk for DVT. Medical-grade gradient compression hosiery, such as Jobst Gradient Hosiery can help prevent the leg swelling and decreased blood circulation that may be contributors to DVT.


Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Risk Factors and Tips for Reducing Risks
DVT can strike men and women who are in good health with relatively little warning. However, certain health conditions may increase a person's risk for DVT.
Obesity
Pregnancy
Chronic heart disease
Use of hormone medications
Malignancies/cancerous tumors
History of blood clots
Varicose veins
Recent trauma or surgery
Smoking
If you feel you are at risk for DVT, please consult your physician prior to travelling to discuss your health and medical history. Your physician can review treatment options available to help manage pre-existing conditions in an effort to minimize your risk for this serious medical condition.


Tips for Reducing Your Risks for Economy Class Syndrome and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) During Air Travel
Stay hydrated
Avoid alcohol and beverages with caffeine
Wear gradient compression hosiery
Get up and walk around the plane every hour
Wear loose-fitting, non-restrictive clothing
Flex and stretch your legs to improve blood flow when restricted to your seat
Ask your physician if you are predisposed to any risk factors for DVT


Facts About ECS (Economy Class Syndrome)

Facts About Economy Class Syndrome (ECS) and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Economy Class Syndrome (ECS) is the term associated with a serious condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Crowded, cramped conditions and limited physical activity during extended air travel may increase the risks for DVT.
ECS got its name from the inactivity associated with air travel, particularly in cramped coach seating.
During prolonged periods of inactivity, the effects of gravity make it difficult for the blood in the veins of the legs to return to the heart. Activity of the calf muscles is needed to contract and pump blood up the legs. Without this activity, blood can pool in the legs, causing swelling and discomfort and may develop into a blood clot in a deep vein – deep vein thrombosis.
During prolonged periods of inactivity, the effects of gravity make it difficult for the blood in the veins of the legs to return to the heart. Activity of the calf muscles is needed to contract and pump blood up the legs. Without this activity, blood can pool in the legs, causing swelling and discomfort and may develop into a blood clot in a deep vein – deep vein thrombosis.
When normal activity resumes, the blood clot can break off and form an embolism that can pass to the heart or lungs, obstruct the pulmonary arteries, and lead to death.
Development of thrombi during extended air travel has been documented throughout the past 40 years. Air travelers, including Richard Nixon in 1972, have experienced the effects of these conditions after flying.
Although DVT can strike individuals who are in good health with relatively little warning, there are people who are at greater risk for developing the condition. Obesity, pregnancy, chronic heart disease, use of hormone medications, malignancies, history of blood clots, varicose veins, and recent trauma or surgery may increase a person's risk for DVT. 1 Travelers should ask a physician if they are predisposed to any risk factors for DVT.
DVT is not only associated with long flights. This condition may also be linked with activities or occupations that involve long periods of passive sitting.1
To reduce the risk for DVT while traveling, physicians recommend wearing gradient compression hosiery to improve blood circulation in the legs in conjunction with foot/ankle exercises and walking.
Jobst is the number one physician-recommended brand of gradient compression hosiery in the United States.
  1) DVT 'hits all travel.' The Mirror, United Kingdom, March 14, 2001

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