A recent study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that women who sit for extended periods of time are two to three times more likely to develop pulmonary embolisms, potentially fatal blood clots that form in the legs and travel to the lungs.

Women who spend more than 41 hours a week outside of work sitting are considered at the highest risk, while women in professions that require them to remain on their feet most of the time, such as nursing or waitressing, are at the lowest.  Other risk factors for developing pulmonary embolisms include smoking, being overweight, using birth control pills and a family history of blood clotting disorders.

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath, severe chest pain and coughing that may produce bloody sputum.  Some other common symptoms are swelling of the legs, sweating, rapid heartbeat and lightheadedness.  A pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening condition, and immediate medical treatment is required in order to ensure a successful recovery.

Lowering the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism is easy–all you have to do is move! If you work an office job that requires you to sit at a desk for most of the day, make sure to get up and walk around a couple times a day.  Instead of e-mailing or calling a co-worker, walk to his or her desk.  On your lunch break, walk around the block once or twice.  At home, whether after work or on the weekends, don’t be tempted to spend hours in front of the computer or TV.  Make excuses to move around–take an after dinner walk around your neighborhood, or, if you need to pick up a few groceries, walk instead of driving to the store.  Many individuals rely too often on their cars to make trips that could be easily done on foot.  You don’t have to jog five miles every day to stay healthy–walking up and down your driveway a few times will do some good.  Simply standing up is your first step in the right direction. 

Gena Radcliffe

Medex Supply Blogger

Be Sociable, Share!