‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on Wednesday 10 April 2013, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
Read the response by Dr Simon Stern consultant haematologist:
Hi Spire, I have recently been getting pain and swelling in a leg. I am an air steward and have been told it could be DVT, but not sure it’s just speculation from colleagues. If this is the case, will it get worse? Does being in the air cause the affect? Hope you can help as I am concerned. Thanks.
Dear reader, the biggest risk factor for DVT is prolonged immobility and, as I suspect that as an air steward you are constantly on the move, your job probably puts you at low risk of DVT. On the other hand it is thought that air travel can alter the blood in ways that makes it more prone to clotting.
It is for that reason that we recommend people going on long haul flights to keep well hydrated and walk up and down the aisle every few hours to minimise the risk of thrombosis. Compression flight socks may be useful too.
If your leg pain and swelling persists or worsens it would be sensible for you to contact you General Practitioner, who may then arrange for you to have some simple tests that will hopefully exclude the diagnosis of DVT. I hope this helps you.