Saturday, March 17, 2007

Office Workers at Risk for Blood Clots

Long hours at the computer can cause thrombosis ...

"Office workers and taxi drivers who sit for long periods at a time risk developing blood clots in major blood vessels just like long-haul airline passenger, researchers in New Zealand said.

The Medical Research Institute of New Zealand in Wellington studied 62 people who suffered from deep vein thrombosis (DVT), including taxi drivers, IT workers and managers, and found 34 percent of the cases were a result of being seated for long periods at work.

A family history of DVT was also a significant factor in getting the disease, the study said.

"Seated immobility as a result of either work or travel accounted for nearly half the cases. Seated immobility at work may represent an important independent risk factor," said the 2005 study to be presented at the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand conference in Auckland later this month.

To date, passengers on long haul flights have thought to be the main people at risk of DVT, which is also known as "economy class syndrome".

Deep vein thrombosis is a condition where blood clots form within a deep vein, commonly in the thigh or calf. The clots can partially or completely block the flow of blood, causing swelling, pain and hypertension.

If the clot travels to the lungs it can cause a pulmonary embolism which is potentially fatal and can kill within hours. The condition is treatable with blood thinning drugs.

The New Zealand study found that "seated immobility at work was identified as a risk factor" if, in a four week period prior to the onset of symptoms, a worker had been seated for three hours at a time without getting up during an eight-hour shift."    (Continued via PC Magazine)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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