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If there’s one thing most of us can agree about when it comes to the pandemic, it’s that we’re all watching a lot more television.
I’ll admit my binge-waching habit didn’t start until I started to feel the walls closing in, and, like most people, it became a regular outlet.
And now, even though restrictions have loosened, as a whole, our TV time has gone up.
As a consequence, our health is going down.
Sitting in front of the television too much can also lead to frailty as you age, stealing your independence.
Now there’s one more risk that researchers say all of that binge-watching could be setting us up for — potentially fatal blood clots.
Up to 20 years of data proves big danger
The research, led by a team from the University of Bristol in the UK, actually combined the results of three separate studies, including a whopping 131,421 participants. Each person’s television habits and resulting issues with blood clots were followed for anywhere from five to 19.8 years.
Specifically, the researchers monitored for what’s known as venous thromboembolism or VTE. These include pulmonary embolisms (blood clots that occur in the lungs), as well as deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a deep vein, usually the legs, which can travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism).
So what did they find?
Well, the team separated participants based on the length of time they spent in front of the TV on a regular basis, categorizing them as:
- Prolonged viewers (those who watched TV at least four hours per day)
- Never/seldom viewers (people who spent less than 2.5 hours per day in front of the television)
Their results showed that if you watch TV for four hours per day or more, your chances of experiencing a deadly blood clot go up by 35 percent!
In other words, too much TV time can equal clots and even death.
So how does spending time viewing your favorite show make blood clots more likely?
As the lead author of the study, Dr. Setor Kunutsor, explains, “Prolonged TV viewing involves immobilization, which is a risk factor for VTE. This is why people are encouraged to move around after surgery or during a long-haul flight.”
Additionally, he points out that sitting in a cramped position results in the pooling of blood in your legs, which adds to the clotting risk.
If that weren’t enough, binge-watching television can lead to binge-eating of unhealthy snacks. And that can lead to obesity and high blood pressure — both problems that raise the likelihood of blood clots.
4 tips to decrease your blood clot risk while binge-watching
If you enjoy binging your favorite shows, you don’t have to totally give up the pastime. But unless you want to suffer the consequences you should make some adjustments…
- Try to avoid watching for hours at a time. As much as you may get hooked on a streaming series, you can enjoy it longer if you commit to only watching an episode or two a night.
- Take breaks every half hour and get up, stretch, take a bathroom break and walk around the house for several minutes.
- If you snack while you watch, choose healthy snacks. In fact, some snacks are better for promoting healthy blood pressure and blood flow, including beets, berries, citrus fruits and nuts — especially walnuts. Sounds like the makings of a delicious salad!
But there’s one food that is scientifically known for possessing a plasmin-like enzyme that’s been well-researched for its clot-dissolving properties…
It’s called natto — a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans. It may be available in local specialty shops or online.
Because of my family history, I had to try it. I could never get used to the smell or taste (let’s just say it’s an “acquired” taste), but was glad to find it is available in supplement form. You can read more about the one I prefer, Peak Blood FlowTM, here.
One last tip: Fidget your legs while you sit.
In one study, researchers asked healthy men and women to sit for three hours. During that time, they were told to fidget one leg intermittently by tapping their foot for one minute and then resting it for four minutes. Their other leg remained still for the entire three hours.
After the time was up, researchers compared the blood flow in each leg. Participants had significantly better blood flow in the fidgety leg than the one they kept still.
Editor’s note: Have you heard of EDTA chelation therapy? It was developed originally to remove lead and other contaminants, including heavy metals, from the body. Its uses now run the gamut from varicose veins to circulation. Click here to discover Chelation: Natural Miracle for Protecting Your Heart and Enhancing Your Health!
TV watching linked with potentially fatal blood clots – EurekAlert!