Preventing In-Flight Puffy Legs

By August 4, 2014 Blog No Comments

Do you suffer from puffy swollen feet or ankles?

Kim-Kardashian-fee_2565748aYou’re not alone; this becomes a common problem during the summer months. The medical name for this condition is oedema, which occurs when fluid is retained outside of the cells of the body.

More often than not, reasons for feet and ankle swelling include high blood pressure, being overweight or pregnant (as in Kim Kardashian’s case) or because of excessive salt in our diet – plus of course fractures or sprains. However, many people often find themselves with swollen feet and ankles during the summer months, particularly in-flight en route to their summer holiday.

The reasons for this is that gravity pulls fluids down to the legs and ankles, and unlike normal circumstances where the contraction of muscles in the legs compresses the veins and helps counteract gravity by moving blood back to the heart, inactivity and the way you sit means that fluids move from the blood into the surrounding tissues.

In addition to the swelling, lack of movement greatly increases the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which is a serious condition where a blood clot forms in the deep veins within the muscles. The biggest concern with the formation of a blood clot in the deep veins is the risk that this clot may dislodge and shoot to the lungs. If the clot is big enough then this can be fatal.

So if you do suffer from in-flight puffiness and heaviness, follow our tips for lighter, comfy healthy legs:

Get moving
Get into the habit of moving around whether at home or whilst on an airplane. This will help to get the circulation working and thus prevent water retention in the legs and ankles.

Stay hydrated
Dehydration causes the constriction of blood vessels leading to the forcing of fluids into the extra-cellular spaces between cells leading to retention particularly in the lower limbs. Reduce beverages containing caffeine as they contribute to dehydration.

Reduce salt intake
Many of the foods we eat already contain salt naturally as well as in many cases salt is added to ready-made meals. Salt causes you to retain water in the body and aside from causing swelling it puts a burden on the heart and kidneys.

Take a supplement
Diosmin-based supplements such as Diosmin Plus which contains a comprehensive blend of herbs and nutrients that work to enhance circulation. Our medical director Dr Akbar de Medici has combed through the research for this medically-valid supplement and it’s an added option for those suffering with venous stasis.

Invest in flight socks
If you’re going long-haul, it makes sense to invest in a pair of graduated compression socks such as VR Compression or similar medical-grade products. Clinically proven to lower the risk of flight-related DVT and prevent swollen legs/ankles during long journeys. It’s a small price to pay for comfort and peace of mind.

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