One More Thing to Worry About: DVT from Sitting Too Long

As if carpal tunnel syndrome, vision woes, and back pain weren’t enough to have one our minds, now web workers are supposed to get the jitters about deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – those deadly blood clots that can form in your legs, travel to your brain, and end your life prematurely. A widely-reported study hit the wires yesterday with headlines ranging from “Office Workers More Clot Prone” to “Deadly Threat in the Office” depending on the inclination of the particular writer.

In any case, the news comes from the work of Professor Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute in Wellington, New Zealand, who’s been studying this issue since 2003. It turns out that some people who sit still for long periods of time develop DVT, which you might know as “economy class syndrome” because it’s also been associated with long flights in cramped airplane seats. In his most recent study, it turns out that 34% of the 62 patients with DVT had been seated at work for long periods of time, as opposed to only 1.4% who had been on long plane flights.

Something to View With Alarm? Perhaps. But statistics are slippery things. Remember, that doesn’t mean that 34% of all office workers will get DVT. And since many more people work in offices than take long plane flights, it doesn’t even mean that office work is a higher risk factor for DVT than flying. The best advice? Same as ever: get up and walk around every once in a while. If you’re living the web worker lifestyle, those trips to the counter to order another latte are better for you than you knew.


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