Spending many hours behind your computer screen? Go for a walk to protect your heart, here's why

Long hours of sitting poses a risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis and heart ailments, which can be life-threatening

Published: 15th January 2021 08:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th January 2021 08:39 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Express News Service

All the teachers out there, beware. Conducting online lectures while sitting for long hours can be dangerous for you, as was seen recently in a case at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali, Ghaziabad. 

A 40-year-old school teacher, was brought to the hospital in emergency, with severe breathlessness and discomfort in the chest. Some tests and scans later it was found that she had blood clots in both her main pulmonary arteries as well as in her leg veins (a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis -DVT).  

Even her dietary pattern was erratic, and she wasn’t hydrating her body well, all adding up to her slowly developing this lethal condition. Even a small delay in treatment could have turned fatal for her, say doctors. “Prolonged immobilisation leads to clotting in the veins in our leg.

This clot can eventually travel to the lungs or heart and cause sudden blockage of blood vessels which can lead to low oxygen levels in the blood causing lung damage and, eventually, heart failure,” says Dr Amit Malik, Associate Director and Coordinator, Interventional Cardiology, Electrophysiology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali, adding, “Pulmonary Embolism is a life-threatening condition and can happen because of the immobility of lower limbs for long duration or dehydration. It can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.”But this is not just a lone case. 

Doctors in various hospitals across Delhi-NCR have been getting patients of pulmonary embolism with alarming regularity. All this is due to an excessive lack of physical activity due to prolonged sedentary lifestyle, an aftermath of working out of a computer from home. While doctors have been warning people against the sedentary lifestyle, exhorting them to take a walk after every one hour of sitting, it seems not many are paying attention to this. This explains the steady number of patients of pulmonary embolism. 

  Dr Akshay Buddhiraja

“There are a lot of cases of COVID patients having pulmonary embolism - about five per cent of these are moderate to severe. But even in non-covid category we get such patients, four-five every month,” says Dr Akshay Buddhiraja, Akash Healthcare. Dr Arunesh Kumar, Head of Respiratory Medicine and Pulmonology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram puts this number to two patients every week.  

“Apart from those with chronic sedentary lifestyle (teachers and those who sit for 8-9 hours in offices), pulmonary embolism happens in obese people, smokers, women who consume birth-control pills and those having DVT,” says Dr Buddhiraja adding, “It usually happens after 35 years of age, and the situation gets alarming if a patient has co morbidities.”“Even those who undertake long road trips or long-haul flights should be careful.

Once we got a patient who reached Delhi at night, after a long flight and by morning developed the symptoms,” says Dr Kumar, adding that train journeys are better since people usually move around in trains. Dr Kumar advises people who don’t walk or cannot walk to do feet exercises regularly. “The idea is to move calf muscles. Even massage can help to some extent,” he says.

A word of caution

  • If you have a bed-ridden person at home change his posture regularly, and arrange for physiotherapy sessions

  • For those having sitting jobs, take a break every hour and walk

  • Get your risk factor identified if there is a genetic history of disease in your family.

  • Be aware of the symptoms (unease in chest and breathlessness) in case you consume birth control pills

  • Follow a diet and exercise regimen if you are over-weight/obese. And always keep yourself hydrated.


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