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September 2018

Get Moving—Even While Binge-Watching TV—To Reduce Your Blood Clot Risk

Netflix. Amazon. Hulu. Whatever your vehicle for viewing your favorite shows, you may want to hit “pause” on your binge-watching habit. According to new research, people who often watch TV are more likely to develop dangerous blood clots than those who rarely tune in, reports the Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis.

Woman watching TV and pedaling on an exercise bike

Too much TV doubles your blood clot risk

For the study, researchers followed more than 15,000 U.S. adults for 2 decades. People who said they watched TV “very often” were nearly twice as likely to develop a condition called venous thromboembolism (VTE) compared with those who “rarely or seldom” watched TV. 

VTE occurs when a blood clot develops in a vein. If a blood clot forms in a deep vein such as the leg—known as deep vein thrombosis—it can cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Skin that feels warm or appears reddish

If the blood clot breaks off and travels from the leg to the lungs, it can block some of or all the blood supply to the lungs. That causes a serious life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.

Stand up against blood clots

When you go into couch-potato mode, blood can get stuck in your lower extremities and can contribute to the formation of blood clots, researchers say.

Interestingly, researchers found that people who exercised regularly still had a higher risk for blood clots when they spent hours glued to the tube each day. The key, it seems, is spending more time on your feet.

Here are a few activities you can do even while catching up on your favorite shows:

  • Planks

  • Sit-ups

  • Crunches

  • Lunges

  • Squats

  • Wall sits

Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk for blood clots and what else you can do to keep them at bay. 

Online Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 4/19/2018
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