Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), occurs when a blood clot forms within a vein that’s deep in your body. It typically forms in the thigh or lower leg and often strikes people who spend hours sitting in one place. This is why it happens to airline passengers on long trips. However, commercial or owner operator truck drivers who spend hours on the road sitting in front of a steering wheel are also at risk of getting this condition.
Sitting in the driver’s seat for hours slows down your blood flow because there’s no need for your heart to pump vigorously. Thanks to gravity, the blood tends to pool in your legs and ankles. This sluggish pooled blood is in prime condition for blood clot formation. Truck drivers unaware of this condition often shrug off the initial symptoms. These include swelling, soreness, unusual warmth, or red skin on the leg.
At any time, the clot can break loose and travel in the blood stream up to the lungs. At this point, the commercial or owner operator truck driver will find breathing difficult, may have chest pain, fainting spells, a cough, or a fast heart beat. Some, or all of these symptoms may occur. If the truck driver continues to ignore the symptoms, he or she can literally drop dead. DVT can also start in an arm as well.
DVT Prevention Tips
- Move around. Every couple of hours, get out of your truck and walk around. Aerobic exercise is a health necessity in any case. By maintaining a daily aerobic routine made up of several short walks, you also reduce your risk of DVT.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration means drinking water rather than coffee, which has a dehydrating effect. Poor hydration thickens the blood, making it more prone to clot formation.
- Include leg stretching exercises. Leg stretching exercises combined with walking is even more effective than walking alone.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes and socks.
- Reduce your salt intake.
- Avoid crossing your legs.
- Avoid injuring your legs.
- Work your leg muscles. While driving, press and/or curl your toes down, and flex your feet.
Stay hydrated, stay fit, and keep moving. If you notice any of the symptoms of DVT, don’t delay about seeing a doctor. It’s a matter of life or death.
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