What are the risk factors for thrombosis? Can I take birth control pills and fly by plane?
Antonia Rocha, Sao Sebastiao
Answer Dr. Carina Brandão, angiologist and vascular surgeon
The contraceptive pill is a risk factor for thrombosis, but not in isolation. People are sometimes very afraid of the pill, in a way, perhaps, a little more exaggerated than they should be. The risk percentage is 0.12% risk, which can increase if the person smokes and uses the pill, for example.
For those who use the pill and are going to take a long plane trip – which we consider to be over 3 hours –, combined with alcohol consumption or sleeping pills, this is extremely bad, because immobility is a high risk factor for thrombosis. In addition to the air issue itself, the plane, which causes a hemodynamic change and affects blood flow.
The whole point of thrombosis is that you end up adding many factors that lead you to it.
However, simple measures solve this problem. On long trips, we recommend walking down the aisle of the plane or doing the movement of stepping on the accelerator with your feet to exercise your calves. Avoid sitting on bent legs: this makes understanding of musculature and circulation. And try not to fly with tight clothes.
If you already have a circulation problem, for example, then it is interesting to use elastic stockings. In addition to being a protective factor, the product ensures that you arrive at your destination less swollen. Women who are on their period, for example, and are already retaining fluid, are even worse on plane trips. So the sock counterbalances this discomfort.
In theory, it is enough to be alive to have thrombosis, but, in fact, the great prevention is a healthy lifestyle: being active, hydrate, controlling body weight, avoiding cigarettes and excess hormones.
A sedentary lifestyle is the great enemy of vascular health. Venous disease is glaring because you see the result in a few days, but circulation as a whole, involving blood flow, blood pressure, in short.
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