With global connectivity, aeroplanes have made the global travel so easy and with elegance. But, on the other hand, frequent flying can take a toll on one’s health without being known. Such is the case of a 49-year-old Lars Meijar, a Dutch national, who is a typical multi-national executive and often travels across the world for official purposes.
Back to back flights and to maintain their schedules can be hectic sometimes. And though there are some people who opt this on an everyday basis and it has become a part of their routine.
Meijar is a frequent flyer and this landed him in trouble as he was admitted to a Pune-based hospital with a complaint of chest discomfort. Little did he knew, that one such flight could nearly cost him his life.
Upon investigation, the doctor revealed that he had developed a blood clot – pulmonary embolism – in his lower part of his leg, which broke off and had travel reach to his heart and lungs.
Frequent flying and lack of physical movement in frequent flights have eventually taken a toll on his health. Doctors say that there are many other factors that lead to pulmonary embolism, but that immobilization associated with frequent flying is a rare one. In medical terminology, the condition is known as pulmonary embolism and this time, the doctor informed that the triggering factor was the travel and long-distance flights for the patient.
Whilst in Pune, he suddenly felt breathlessness and uneasiness and was rushed to Ruby Hall clinic located in Wanowrie. Whereupon Maijar learnt that he had suffered from what is known as pulmonary embolism.
“One of the main causes for developing pulmonary embolism is immobilization. Immobilization leads to the formation of the clot in the lower leg, which then travels to heart and lung. Nowadays, many people are opting for long-haul flights and there are high chances of developing pulmonary embolism in such frequent flyers,” said Dr Abhay Somani, a Consultant and Interventional Cardiologist at Ruby Hall Clinic, Wanowrie, who was also treating Meijar.
Lack of muscular activity, particularly in the leg, allows blood to pull into the lower extremities and this promotes the formation of blood clot.
“It is critical for travellers on long-haul flights to stay active during all aspects of the flight, be it wiggling your feet and toes, getting up to walk around, anything that keeps the blood from pulling into your feet. Staying hydrated too is extremely important,” he added.
Meijar was administered with thrombolysis injection to dissolve the clot and will be put on blood thinners for next six months.
“Awareness on this is important as the mortality rate associated with the disease is around 14 per cent. Also, even people who do not smoke or regular exercise can succumb because of such complications,” added Dr Somani.