Health threat from computer use

Long haul air travel is not the only activity to pose a risk of developing potentially deadly blood clots - sitting at your computer for too long may also put you at risk. The European Respiratory Journal reports the case of a young man from New Zealand who nearly died after developing deep vein thrombosis following long periods of physical inactivity in front of his computer.

The man, the first recorded victim of a condition which has been dubbed e-thrombosis, spent up to 18 hours a day using his computer. He developed a massive blood clot that formed in his leg veins, broke off and travelled to his lungs.

Although the controversy about long-haul air travel has recently put DVT in the headlines, the condition was first described in people sitting on deckchairs in air raid shelters during the Blitz in London.

Researchers, led by Dr Richard Beasley, of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, warn the widespread use of computers in so many aspects of modern life may put many people at risk of developing DVT. Dr Beasley said: "It may be similar to the situation with the risk of blood clots with long distance air travel - it was not until there was publicity with individual cases that the real extent of the problem was recognised."

The researchers say anybody who uses a computer for prolonged periods should undertake frequent leg and foot exercises, and take regular breaks away from the screen.

News source: BBC News

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