National Doctors Day 2022: Symptoms, Preventive Tips for Economy Class Syndrome | Health

Economy class syndrome is the medical term for one or more blood clots in the major veins carrying blood from the lower extremities (usually) to the heart when it is necessary to sit in the same position for a long time, e.g. For example, sitting on an airplane for long hours can lead to what is called traveler’s thrombosis, which occurs when a person sits in the same position for a long time without much movement and affects about two to three people out of 1,000 people per year. As travel has opened up, people are continuously flying long hours and traveling many miles to various destinations. Therefore, Deep Vein Thrombosis or Economy Class Syndrome occurs in many people when they regularly travel by air and encounter health-related difficulties and in front of domestic doctors. Day 2022, we will shed light on its causes, symptoms and prevention tips.

Cause :

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Ambanna Gowda, Consultant Physician and Diabetologist at SPARSH Hospital, said, “There are several reasons for this. This happens because the airplane creates a micro-environmental condition where immobilization, reduced oxygen tension, uncomfortable and tight seats, circadian dysrhythmia i.e. changes in the disruption of the normal cycle of sleep, wakefulness and sleep, due to time zone differences (jet lag) leading to Economy Class Syndrome. These are the conditions that disrupt the health of passengers.

Lending his expertise to the same, Dr. Suheil Dhanse, Interventional Cardiologist at Thane’s Horizon Prime Hospitals, revealed, “It has also been known to occur after long-haul flights, earning it the nickname ‘Syndrome’. economy class”. Sitting, especially sleeping, in a cramped seat with little room for leg movement leads to pooling of blood in the lower extremities and, therefore, a tendency for blood clots to form in the veins This is further exacerbated by dehydration during air travel and alcohol consumption Pregnant women, the elderly, patients with cancer or other pro-clotting states (conditions causing a predisposition to clotting) and those taking oral contraceptives are at increased risk.


According to Dr. Ambanna Gowda, it causes symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, nausea, swelling, redness, muscle pain, tenderness around the calf muscle part of the leg. He said: “A passenger’s high BMI, hypobaric hypoxia, low humidity, pregnancy, hypercoagulable state, smokers, women on oral contraceptives, hormone therapies, cancer patients are more predisposed. When they sit for long hours without moving and if the factors mentioned above exist, they are considered to be at high risk of developing blood clots in the leg due to travel, also known as venous thromboembolism or traveler’s thrombosis. It can happen in middle-aged people or older people in general.

Adding to the list, Dr Suheil Dhanse said: “Symptoms are usually pain, swelling and redness of the affected limb. DVT is known to occur during pregnancy or after a period of prolonged bed rest or immobilization (such as after major surgery/hospitalization). A life-threatening complication of the disease is pulmonary embolism – a condition in which part or all of the clot breaks free and travels to the heart. The clot lodges in the blood vessels carrying blood from the heart to the lungs and causes severe symptoms like shortness of breath or even cardiorespiratory collapse and cardiac arrest.

Preventive tips:

Emphasizing that preventive measures are very few and very specific to each individual, Dr Ambanna Gowda suggested:

1. Choose a suitable outfit: Pick something you’re comfortable wearing.

2. Take frequent walks: Do not remain inactive for more than six to eight hours at any one location in the flight

3. Do light exercises: Take a walk and do some light leg stretching exercises.

4. Hydrate frequently: Drink water regularly

He added: “If you are predisposed to the disease, your doctor may recommend elastic compression stockings which may help. People who develop blood clots in the legs or venous thromboembolism may experience a few symptoms a few weeks after travel. After the plane trip, one can develop this for the next two to eight weeks. So be sure to mention your travel history to your doctor if you notice any symptoms. Clots in the legs can sometimes dislodge from the legs and travel to the lungs and cause a condition known as pulmonary embolism causing heart conditions, such as stroke or stroke. It can be a serious complication.

Dr. Suheil Dhanse advised following simple steps to help prevent DVT and its complications. These steps include:

1. Drink enough water

2. Avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages

3. Get up and walk for a few minutes at least once in 1-2 hours

4. In a seated upright or reclined position, exercise both legs by flexing your foot up and down (like pressing the accelerator and releasing it) as often as possible. This exercise acts as a pump for the blood vessels in your leg, improving the return of blood to your heart.

5. Wear “graduated compression stockings” that are tighter around the ankles and feet than the thighs, to reduce pooling of blood in the legs and feet.

Whenever people with such predisposing factors or history of medical disease travel long distances, they should consult and inform the family doctor or the attending physician because most of the time they think it is not important . Ideally, it is good to inform and discuss with your doctor if you are taking long distance flights so that the necessary precautions can be taken and the incidences of economy class syndrome can be avoided. The longer the air travel, the higher the risk.

Comments are closed.