Patients with varicose veins may have problems with flights of over four hours, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Varicose veins increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.
Patients should consult their physicians before they embark on long airplane rides, claims the CDC. If they do take these trips, they should get up and move around at regular intervals. This improves circulation and lowers the risk of clots. If they can't get out of their seats, they should extend their legs straight out, flex their ankles toward them and hold them for 15 seconds or so while placing their hands on their lower legs.
People with varicose veins may also want to wear compression stockings during their flights, states the CDC. These stockings put pressure on the legs and improve circulation. The doctor may also prescribe blood thinners.
A person with varicose veins needs to alert a doctor if signs of a blood clot appear, such as swelling in the leg and unexplained tenderness or pain in the area, as the CDC explains. The skin over the blood clot is warm and red. If the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lung, the symptoms include coughing up blood, fainting, difficulty in breathing, tachycardia and chest pain that is exacerbated when the patient coughs or breathes.