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Binge-watchers, beware: Long TV time poses clot risk

Posted at 5:29 PM, Nov 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-13 17:29:42-05

This is bad news for binge-watchers. The study began back in the late 1980s and included more than 15,000 Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 years of age. 

Participants were asked how long they sat in front of the television for and researchers found those who watched TV more often had an increased risk of developing dangerous blood clots by 70 percent. 

It’s a very serious medical condition called venous thromboembolism or VTE. What happens is a blood clot forms in the veins, in places like our legs, arms and pelvis. 

The danger is when the clot breaks away and travels to the lungs, which can be life-threatening.  Regarding the actual hours people watched TV, those numbers were not tracked in this study. 

What may surprise many of you is that researchers found those who exercised regularly still faced an increased risk for VTE.   

It’s all about moderation. It’s not that you can’t watch TV or binge-watch, it’s more about what you do while you’re enjoying your favorite shows. So my prescriptions are:

Partha’s RX:

1. Instead of sitting in front of the TV, walk on the treadmill or ride a stationary bike. You can also stretch and walk in place to get blood flow moving.

2. If you don’t want to exercise during show-time, then get some movement before it starts or right after. Aim for 20 minutes. 

3. Quit smoking. It affects circulation and blood clotting and raises your risk.

4. Eat a heart-healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight as these can also help prevent blood clots. 

Yes, obesity is a known risk factor for blood clots as the extra weight increases pressure in veins located in the pelvis and legs.  This study found those who were highly obese and watched a lot of TV had about 2.4 times the risk of developing VTE.