The death of TV journalist David Bloom following an airplane flight brought the danger of travel-related deep vein thrombosis (DVT) to national attention.
But there is another group that is at high risk for DVT: athletes.
Eighty-five percent of those who suffer a DVT while flying are athletes, according to AirHealth.org.
Athletes who have suffered a DVT during travel include tennis great Serena Williams; Tim Hentzel, a competitive triathlete; hockey player Adam McQuaid, and professional golfer Joey Sinclair.
According to Alison White, a long distance runner who suffered a DVT and now is dedicated to raising DVT awareness, reasons for the increased risk include:
• Dehydration. Prolonged periods of exercise can lead to dehydration, which thickens the blood. When your blood is thicker, it is more likely to clot. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics that can also thicken your blood.
• Low heart rate. With a lower heart rate, blood is moving through your body more slowly, and is more likely to clot.
• Soreness and injury. When your body experiences trauma, it may begin to form a clot at the site. If you break a bone or strain a muscle, you may be required to wear a brace or a cast that limits mobility, increasing the chance of clotting.
• Travel. High-level athletes travel often for games and races. If you travel long distances and are immobile in a car or plane, your blood can pool and form a clot.
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