How can blood clots and TV viewing time be connected? The type of blood clots we are talking about can kill you. They typically form in the lower legs of people who siting or lying down for a long time. Sitting and watching TV for a long time is a common way many of us are sedentary.
When sedentary, blood pools in the legs and sometimes this stagnant blood forms a clot. When such a clot forms in the deep thigh, it is called a deep vein thrombosis. Sometimes the clots that form inside the thigh veins break off from the wall of the artery, and are set free into the bloodstream.
If the clot travels to the lung, it can plug up blood vessels there, causing a typically severe chest pain of rapid onset, along with a serious shortness of breath, that gets worse with any activity. Cough can be severe, and some people cough bloody sputum.
This blood clot that travels into the lung is called a pulmonary embolism (PE), and a PE is fatal in about 1/3 of the people affected. There are good treatments; medications that thin the blood or dissolve the blood clots. Sometimes more aggressive treatment is needed, such as with a intra-vascular catheter to remove the clot.
A PE is not something you want to have, and Japanese researchers wanted to see if too much time watching TV could increase the risk. For 20 years, The Japanese Collaborative Cohort Study followed over 86,000 generally healthy adults age 40 and above. Each participant filled out questionnaires about their TV viewing habits, and their health was closely noted.
The results, just published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, showed a strong correlation between TV viewing time and rate of PE.
If a person spent, on average, between 2.5 and 5 hours per day watching TV, they suffered a 70% higher risk of dying from a PE compared with the person who watched less than 2.5 hours per day. Those people who reported over 5 hours of TV watching per day suffered a 250% higher risk of dying from PE compared with people that watched less than 2.5 hours.
The problem is not really the TV itself, but the fact that many people watching TV are mostly sedentary. They don’t get up much, and the blood pools in their legs. Dr. Toru Shirakawa of Osaka University, the lead author of the study, advises that, while you are watching TV “Take breaks, stand up, walk around. Drinking water is also important.”
We have previously reported on how inactivity and sitting for a prolonged periods gives you a much higher risk of obesity, and other health complications. Now we add the risk of a PE. Click on the link below to see more information how you can avoid problems from prolonged sitting.
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