CHICAGO - Video gamers will be in front of their consoles in marathon sessions on Sept. 12, National Video Games Day. The caveat? Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can be hazardous to your health.
In May, a 20-year-old man from England died after sitting too long playing video games. A blood clot formed in his leg and moved to his lungs. The man often played video games for 12 hours straight.
“Movement is essential for proper blood flow,” said Anil Hingorani, MD, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery®. “Sitting in the same position for long periods of time - whether playing video games or cramped in a car or on an airplane - can result in pooling of the blood in the veins. Blood clots known as deep vein thromboses (DVT) can form.”
2011 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that 300,000 to 600,000 Americans die annually from blood clots in the lungs. In 2003, 39-year-old NBC News reporter David Bloom died when a blood clot in his leg traveled to his lungs. The clot had formed after weeks of driving around Baghdad in a cramped military tank.
“Stand up and stretch,” said Dr. Hingorani. “Walk around. Raise and lower your heels and toes. Tighten and release your leg muscles to promote blood flow.”
Most DVTs occur in persons who are sick and have had long hospital stays. The risk factors for DVTs are: obesity, a history of heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure, and inflammatory bowel disease. Women who are pregnant, nursing, or taking birth control pills are also at increased risk for DVTs.
Half of DVT patients do not experience the warning signs - swelling, tenderness, leg pain, a sensation of warmth, and skin that turns blue or red.
Ultrasound tests can detect blood clots. Treatment options include anticoagulant medication. DVT information appears on the website, VascularWeb.org.
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About the Society for Vascular Surgery
The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for 3,550 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at VascularWeb.org®. Follow SVS on Twitter and Facebook.