DVT (aka VTE, venous thromboembolism) occurs when blood platelets stick together and form clots which either block local circulation or break away to lodge in other organs such as lungs (Embolism) brain (Stroke) or heart (Heart Attack). DVT is an issue among not only airline travelers, but potentially all those who sit immobile for extended periods of time (4 hours or more) according to WHO (World Health Organization). The use of birth control pills and those with blood abnormalities, such as a tendency for easy clotting, have also an increased risk.
Although a recent WHO report suggests that only 1 in 6000 are affected, other studies indicate that it is much more prevalent. One 30 year study reported that DVT may affect as many as 1 in 20. Two thirds of patients with proven pulmonary embolism have no symptoms, and one third of the time it is impossible to find the original site of a DVT without an autopsy. Nevertheless, massive pulmonary embolism (essentially the same as DVT) causes 200,000 deaths annually in the United States; this is a silent killer and combined with the low rate of autopsy in the United States, the real numbers of deaths directly associated with DVT/VTE remain hidden.
Common medical treatment or prevention strategies include the use of blood thinners such as warfarin or heparin. Many people take aspirin before plane flights to protect themselves from DVT – mistakenly. While aspirin is helpful in prevention of arterial thrombosis, it is almost totally useless when it comes to preventing blood clots in veins.
There are better alternatives. In addition to the standard recommendations to hydrate during long trips, wear support stockings, and to get up and walk around periodically, proteolytic enzymes offer an attractive option. Systemic formulas that incorporate nattokinase and endonase help regulate the blood clotting cascade, normalizing the function of this vital defense mechanism. They work not so much as a blood thinner, but as a corrector of blood chemistry and function. They are safe, and non-toxic which is more than what can be said for warfarin (Rat Poison).
As a final thought, it should be safe for us to sit for 3 to 6 hours without risking our lives due to DVT. It's a sad commentary on our dietary and lifestyle choices that so many of us render our bodies incapable of handling such a simple task. At least there's a safer option than rat poison for those at risk.