Watching TV is linked to life-threatening blood clots, study finds

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According to a new study, watching TV for four or more hours a day is associated with a 35% higher risk of blood clots compared to less than 2.5 hours. The research was published in the “European Journal of Preventive Cardiology”.

“The results of our study also suggest that physical activity does not eliminate the increased risk of blood clots associated with prolonged television viewing,” said lead author Dr Setor Kunutsor of the University of Bristol, UK. “If you’re going to binge on TV, you need to take breaks. You can stand and stretch every 30 minutes or use a stationary bike. And avoid combining TV with unhealthy snacks,” Kunutsor added.

The study examined the association between television viewing and venous thromboembolism (VTE). VTE includes pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) and deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in a deep vein, usually the legs, which can travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism). To conduct the study, researchers conducted a systematic review to gather available published evidence on the topic, then combined the results using a process called meta-analysis.

“Combining multiple studies in a meta-analysis provides a larger sample and makes the results more precise and reliable than results from an individual study,” Dr. Kunutsor explained. The analysis included three studies with a total of 131,421 participants aged 40 years and older without pre-existing VTE. Time spent watching television was assessed by a questionnaire and participants were categorized into long viewers (watching television at least four hours a day) and never/rarely viewers (watching television less than 2.5 hours a day ).

The average duration of follow-up in the three studies ranged from 5.1 to 19.8 years. During this period, 964 participants developed VTE. Researchers analyzed the relative risk of developing VTE in long-time viewers versus never/rarely viewers. They found that extended viewers were 1.35 times more likely to develop VTE than never/rarely viewers. The association was independent of age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and physical activity.

“All three studies were adjusted for these factors because they are strongly related to VTE risk; for example, older age, higher BMI, and physical inactivity are related to increased VTE risk,” the report said. Dr Kunutsor. “The results indicate that regardless of physical activity, your BMI, age and gender, watching television for many hours is a risky activity for developing blood clots,” added Dr Kunutsor.

Dr. Kunutsor noted that the results are based on observational studies and do not prove that prolonged television viewing causes blood clots. On possible reasons for the observed relationship, he said: “Prolonged television viewing involves immobilization which is a risk factor for VTE. This is why people are encouraged to move around after surgery or during from a long-haul flight.Also, when you sit in a cramped position for long periods of time, blood pools in your extremities rather than circulating, which can cause blood clots. “

Dr Kunutsor concluded: “Our results suggest that we should limit the time we spend in front of the television. Long periods of television viewing should be interspersed with movement to maintain circulation. Generally speaking, if you sit a lot in your daily life – for example, your job is to sit for hours in front of a computer – be sure to get up and move around from time to time.” (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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