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Too Much Sitting May Double Women's Risk of Blood Clots
Date:7/5/2011

d inactivity increases the risk of venous thromboembolism [pulmonary embolism or deep-vein thrombosis], and it shows how this occurs in everyday life," Dr. James Douketis, director of vascular medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues wrote in an accompanying editorial.

Although the risk is small -- equal to seven extra cases per 10,000 person-years -- the results could have major public health ramifications, the editorialists noted.

The study offers "additional evidence to prove what we've already seen in other contexts," Dr. Furqan Tejani, director of advanced cardiovascular imaging the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in New York City, said in an e-mailed statement.

"For instance, Olympic athletes who took trips from Europe to Australia were found to have deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Recently, in fact, one of the Williams sisters [tennis star Serena Williams] also had pulmonary embolism," Tejani noted.

"Whether travel and prolonged sitting had anything to do with it is not clear, but because a mounting body of evidence pointing to the fact that it may be, it is recommended that one take a baby aspirin before long-haul travels described as lasting more than eight hours," Tejani added. "Certainly it is recommended to at least get up and walk around the aircraft cabin and do calf muscle exercises on a regular basis while en route."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has more about pulmonary embolism.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: BMJ, news release, July 4, 2011; Furqan Tejani, M.D., director of advanced cardiovascular imaging, and associate professor of medicine, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center


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