Your risk of a DVT

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Your risk of DVT


Hello there – you may wonder what a deckchair has to do with driving but did you know………..

that a blood clot in your leg is called a deep vein thrombosis or DVT and they were known from the world wars as deck chair leg as people used to sleep or sit for days and nights in them in air raid shelters hiding from air raids. Soon lots of people were complaining about pain in their legs and dying suddenly and hence the term deck chair leg!

The deck chair caused as we now know a DVT but that did not kill them, it was small amount of clot breaking off and going to the lungs – this is the killer i.e. pulmonary embolus or PE. The symptoms are severe pain in chest and difficulty breathing. Both are called the silent killer as often there is no symptoms until too late.

So now you know a little about DVT and PE and you may still be asking what’s it got to do with driving? So in this blog I will try to help you understand your risks so that you can lower the chances of getting a DVT, which are preventable, and hence getting a PE.

Sadly in the UK and the rest of the major European Countries around 6 people PER HOUR are dying from DVT related issues in each country and 33 PER HOUR in USA. So that’s a huge number, which is most probably under reported if its linked with Heart or Cancer Deaths and comes third in the rankings to these in terms of deaths per annum.

To put this in context in the last reported year (2015) there were 1,732 driving fatalities in UK. Compare this to last reported cancer deaths – Men (Prostate) -2014 – 11K and women (Breast) 2014 – 11K, yet DVT/PE caused 55K deaths which is an under reported figure.

So how does driving help cause DVT?

If you drive for a profession or spend hours in your car representing your company then you most probably do a risk assessment (or not) for each journey, checking tyres, oil, fuel, washer water etc., however do you assess your physical state like alcohol/drug levels? Even prescription drugs can cause unsuitability to drive.

The most likely answer is no you don’t, now if you were working in an office environment and seated at a desk/workstation you should be offered an ergonomic work place assessment, this could lead to offers of a free eye test, new chair, wrist supports, gel pads, different alternatives to a mouse e.g. a pad etc. etc.

So why would you get in a vehicle without doing a self assessment on your fitness to drive?

You should remember the following tips for driving to lower your risk of a DVT.

• Have regular breaks – do not drive for more than 2 hours without a break
• Stay Hydrated with water not caffeine based drinks
• Observe the amount of cumulative hours you are sitting for, this includes in vehicle, breaks, home etc.

If you are in a high risk group e.g. overweight, female on Birth Pill or HRT, Pregnant or 6 weeks post pregnancy, post operative period especially up to 20 days post operatively, lead a sedentary lifestyle away from vehicle, then its best to go and see your doctor/G.P. and look at how you can lower your risk.

If you sit cumulatively for more than 10 hours a day you risk is very high and for every half an hour over your risk increases by 10%.

If you have a predisposition to Varicose Veins or Piles (Haemorrhoids) or a family history of DVT/PE, or Blood Clotting disorders then once again a trip to your G.P. is advisable.

The most important thing to remember is to know and lower your risks, whilst driving you make thousands of risk assessments every second without even realising that you do, so don’t worry just make the small changes required to lower your risks such as drinking more, moving more or wearing preventive compression socks on a daily basis.

For further information on DVT/PE then visit the education site

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