How to Avoid Varicose Veins If You’re a Frequent Flyer

woman looking outside of a window plane

One of the most common questions that individuals with bad blood circulation have about flying is if it can cause varicose veins along the legs. Flying can be a tough task for any individual, but especially for those who are tall, as having to remained seated for a long period of time while having your legs crammed into tight space can be very uncomfortable. Let us talk about how flying can possibly exacerbate vein issues and discuss what you can do to prevent vein issues when you are a frequent flyer.

How Does It Work?

Medical studies have shown that long haul flights can in fact exacerbate vein issues when flying. These risks are primarily due to the reduced movement of the individual being stuck in a seat for hours at a time, dehydration of the body, and lower cabin pressure when the plane is high up in the air. The longer the flight, the greater the risk you have to being exposed to vein issues such as varicose veins. Blood clots form in the legs during prolonged air travel when most individuals are immobile in their seats. Greater issues, such as deep vein thrombosis, can occur when these blood clots form in the legs and travel through the blood vessels and up to the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism. Both varicose veins along the legs and pulmonary embolism are preventable when taking the appropriate steps to prepare for your long flights.

Simple Preparations to Avoid Potential Risk

First thing first, if you have medically identified vein issues, you should consult with your doctor before any prolonged air travel. Some common treatments your doctor may prescribe include painkillers, anti-inflammatory creams, keeping your legs raised, and compression stockings.

Even if you don’t have pre-identified vein issues, you might still want to avoid the risk of varicose veins developing later in life. There are several ways to help prevent vein issues during long flights. Compression stockings are a great choice to wear during these flights. The stockings compress the legs and help keep your blood flowing properly. These are easily purchased at most pharmacies and big-box stores. Wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing will also make sure that your blood continues to circulate while not restricting your movement.

Staying hydrated is another preparation to help avoid potential vein issues. While that cup of coffee in the morning or airport cocktail at night might sound appetizing, it is recommended that you limit your intake and stick with water. Water should be available on most flights, but if not, make sure you bring your bottle with you.

Work Those Legs In-Flight

When flying, you can easily stretch out your muscles from the comfort of your seat or in the aisle. Make sure to stand up when it is safe to do so for a few minutes every hour; bending down and stretching your legs every half hour can help, too. Keep wriggling your toes to keep the blood moving. Sleeping for long stretches during flights can make this difficult, so keep your naps to a half hour or so. Through these simple preparations and exercises, you can potentially circumvent possible vein issues during your next long flight.