Is It Safe To Fly When Suffering From Varicose Veins?

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There are many health risks associated with flying, and varicose veins are among them. Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a temporary halt on flights meaning that it’s been almost four months since everyone, including patients with vein conditions, traveled by air. If you are suffering from Varicose veins, then you must know the impact that sitting for an extended period has on your condition. Therefore, once flying resumes, it would be best to see a doctor for an evaluation to determine whether it would be safe for you to fly. If you live in Texas, Dr. Justin Smith of Hamilton Vascular offers comprehensive treatment for varicose vein conditions. 

Typically, short flights are safe for anyone with varicose veins. However, any flight that takes more than four hours increases the risk of this disease progressing to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Here’s what you should know about the risks and measures to take when flying with varicose veins. 

Risks Associated With Flying With Varicose Veins 

1. Immobility 

People with varicose veins should not be inactive for extended periods. Long flights, such as those taking off from Australia to most parts of the world, pose a significant risk because they require you to sit down for several hours. This prolonged sitting affects blood circulation, which increases the risk of developing a blood clot. 

2. Pressure From The Cabin 

Plane cabins are always pressurized to provide a constant oxygen supply. Unfortunately, this pressure prevents you from absorbing adequate oxygen, which therefore disrupts blood circulation. The aftermath is a possible blood clot. 

3. Dehydration 

The humidity levels in cabins can lead to dehydration of passengers. People with varicose veins are at great risk of getting an infection, which may disrupt blood flow, which could worsen your conditions. 

Varicose Vein Traveling Precautions 

1. Wear Compression Garments 

Compression stockings increase your blood flow, which reduces your risk of developing DVT. These stockings also decrease swelling caused by prolonged sitting, specifically during long flights. 

It would be best to consult your doctor for customized compression wear. Only a vein specialist can prescribe the right fit for you. Also, your doctor will confirm whether it’s safe to wear compression stockings. This is because patients with arterial peripheral vascular disease shouldn’t wear them. 

2. Hydration Is Key 

Try your best to stay hydrated days before your flight. It would help if you avoided caffeinated drinks as well as alcohol. Ensure to also hydrate during the flight. 

3. Quit Smoking 

Smoking can increase the risk of developing DVT. Nicotine found in cigarettes raises your blood pressure, while the carbon monoxide reduces your oxygen absorption capacity. Smoking also results in high cholesterol, which further reduces your blood circulation and adds to hypertension. Therefore, you can imagine how dangerous it is for any smoker who is flying and also has varicose veins. 

4. Exercise 

Doing exercises before traveling will improve circulation in the leg region. During the flight, you can try and exercise by doing foot flexes. It will help if you also did calf pumps if you have enough legroom to stand. 

5. Have Your Medication With You 

Your doctor may prescribe blood-thinning drugs to reduce your symptoms. Always have them with you in case there are flight delays. 

Travel Safely With Varicose Veins

Overall, the best prevention measure is to seek medical advice for your varicose veins. This is crucial, especially when you experience discomfort after flying. You may wish to consult a board-certified specialist such as Dr. Justin Smith at Hamilton Vascular for compassionate and customized treatment.