Help; swollen heavy legs and solutions

Jan 28th, 2018, 01:42 AM
  #1  
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Help; swollen heavy legs and solutions

Mrs Bilbo suffers from swollen legs on most of her flights, generally Ryanair, easyJet, Jet2.com within Europe. I'd like to fly UK to New Zealand which is 2 x 12 hour flights. She has tried tight socks but even so it is not a pretty sight and makes her holidays a misery for the first few days so I can understand that 24 hours of it would put her off.

What would you recommend?
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 03:48 AM
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Mrs. B clearly has a circulatory issue, either local to the legs or central from a cardiac or major blood vessel problem. All are risk factors for deep venous thrombosis on a long flight, and you are contemplating two. A full medical work up, possibly including cardiac and/or vascular specialty evaluation, is in order. As this plus tests of treatment options can be time consuming, it would be wise to start now.
AJPeabody is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 05:13 AM
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Definitely consult a doctor. But also consider paying for lie flat business class seats, I no longer take suffer through flights that long in economy, although I "pay" in FF miles.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 07:11 AM
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Hi, thanks for coming back to me with such sensible advice. No her circulatory system is fine we've had it checked a few times and if anything she is too fit it is just her fluid retention that is the issue.

I have no problem with the idea of business beds (Air NZ you get a bed) but Mrs B would like evidence they help, do you know of any papers that support with evidence or is it mere hype?
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 07:27 AM
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Consult your MD.
Biz seats to keep legs up.
Walking to help circulation.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/foot-swel...s/faq-20057828
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 07:29 AM
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No scientific evidence here but I can vouch for flying and being able to keep legs elevated has eliminated this issue for me. Being of a certain age, we no longer fly economy except on short flights within the US. Maybe she should give it a try and see if this is the answer.
wunderbar2 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 07:29 AM
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No evidence, it just seemed "reasonable" that that having her legs horizontal or even elevated would be an improvement. But it depends on why the fluid retention is happening, which is surely a question for the medical profession.

A little checking on the web turns up the suggestion that one should cut back on salt and increase potassium intake.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 07:41 AM
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Has her physician prescribed a diuretic to reduce the fluid retention? They work for me but I haven’t needed to use them while flying. Yes, to lie flat beds in Business Class even when not sleeping. They can be adjusted so you are not entirely flat but your legs still are stretched out flat. We know that if we are taking long haul dlights that we need to dly Business Class or stay home.
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Jan 28th, 2018, 07:53 AM
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Elevating your legs (ideally so they're above your heart) is standard stuff for avoiding/reducing edema. I'd do a combination of lie-flat business class and compression hosiery, along with mandatory walkies during the flight.

I'd also look for airlines that offer Boeing 787s or Airbus A350s. The higher cabin air pressure those planes offer also will help with in-flight comfort, less dehydration and *possibly* some benefit on edema.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 08:18 AM
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I like the idea of higher cabin pressure.
Thanks for all the other ideas.
Any actual evidence?
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
Definitely consult a doctor. But also consider paying for lie flat business class seats, I no longer take suffer through flights that long in economy, although I "pay" in FF miles.
I completely agree. We no longer fly coach on any flight over six hours. I used to get very swollen ankles on those flights, and it's worrisome to think about circulatory problems that can lead to very bad outcomes. We can sometimes upgrade with points, but often we just factor in the price of the lie-flat beds on longer flights as a part of our travel expenses. The other good thing about business class seats is that there is usually good opportunity to get up and wander around the cabin - more space and not so many passengers in that space.

Also - drink lots and lots of water. No alcohol, and try to limit excess salt.
scdreamer is online now  
Jan 28th, 2018, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
I like the idea of higher cabin pressure.
Thanks for all the other ideas.
Any actual evidence?
https://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...tion/96677564/

17 expert tips on how to stay healthy on an airplane and what flying really does to your body | Daily Mail Online (Yeah, it's the Daily Mail, but still...)
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 10:15 AM
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Thanks Gardy, as you say the Mail!. Still interesting to see the actual comments of people in the industry say stuff like "suggests" with little actual evidence. The USAtoday link looks very interesting though how the aircraft materials will deal with problems of jet-lag ( a clock differential problem) I guess they mean all the other causes that make the pain of flying worse.

So pressure and better humidity I like, bed I like. Any more actual evidence?
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 03:39 PM
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If her circulation is fine, I'd be even more concerned that this happens every time she flies. And would definitely ask the doctor what the cause of her problem might be. And what his/her advice would be.
suze is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 08:11 PM
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Drinking extra fluid is the exact opposite of helpful, especially alcohol!
So - positional edema - which is what this is - occurs when the intravascular pressure in the dependent limb (foot/ankle) is greater than what the circulatory system can accommodate. The cardiovascular system is essentially a closed circuit. Anything that interferes with fluid volume getting back to the heart (venous return) increases risk of swelling (edema.) Essentially, when blood return is impaired the build up of pressure in the extremities leads to leaking of fluid into the local tissue. To minimize the symptom, take measures to decrease the pressure that impairs venous return - i.e., elevate the legs so the feet are closer to the level of the heart, avoid clothing and positioning that constricts at the waist, walk at regular intervals to take advantage of the milking effect of the calf muscles, increase venous return via use of pressure gradient stockings with sufficient force to make a difference (there are different pressure strengths available.)

Re: the 787 - I've found the humidity and pressurization to be nice, but on some carriers the spacing of economy seats is brutal, so check the pitch and seat width. A lie flat or at least business class recline seat on just about any aircraft is better than a 787 coach seat.
Seamus is offline  
Jan 28th, 2018, 11:21 PM
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Seamus, makes sense to me and different pressure stockings is interesting. Any papers anyone?
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 06:08 AM
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I don't think you will a study done on this or documentation other that the opinions noted in links here which does include Mayo clinic. If you are looking for near absolute certainty I don't think you will find it. However most of the suggestions are reasonable so I think you have to either skip it or take a calculated leap of faith.

Good luck.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Seamus View Post
Drinking extra fluid is the exact opposite of helpful, especially alcohol!
So - positional edema - which is what this is - occurs when the intravascular pressure in the dependent limb (foot/ankle) is greater than what the circulatory system can accommodate. The cardiovascular system is essentially a closed circuit. Anything that interferes with fluid volume getting back to the heart (venous return) increases risk of swelling (edema.) Essentially, when blood return is impaired the build up of pressure in the extremities leads to leaking of fluid into the local tissue. To minimize the symptom, take measures to decrease the pressure that impairs venous return - i.e., elevate the legs so the feet are closer to the level of the heart, avoid clothing and positioning that constricts at the waist, walk at regular intervals to take advantage of the milking effect of the calf muscles, increase venous return via use of pressure gradient stockings with sufficient force to make a difference (there are different pressure strengths available.)

Re: the 787 - I've found the humidity and pressurization to be nice, but on some carriers the spacing of economy seats is brutal, so check the pitch and seat width. A lie flat or at least business class recline seat on just about any aircraft is better than a 787 coach seat.
Not that I don't believe you, but I am surprised that drinking water would not be a good idea. Is it because the lack of hydration will decrease the pressure in the circulatory system? Is that a good thing? Thanks in advance for any info about this.
scdreamer is online now  
Jan 29th, 2018, 08:03 AM
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Be careful with the diuretics. I have a relative who was on a cross country flight who regularly takes them. She didnít feel very well, got up and passed out in the aisle, lost control of her bowels (not dangerous but embarrassing) . She had her entire family on the flight - children, grandchildren, other family. They thought she was dying and it was extremely traumatic.

A doctor passenger checked her out and thought it was from dehydration due to the diruetic As soon as they landed she went to a hospital and it was confirmed that this was the problem.
ellenbw is offline  
Jan 29th, 2018, 09:32 AM
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bilbo - see article at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4081237/

scdreamer - staying normally hydrated is good, but extra fluid just makes the problem worse. Not an issue for most people but someone who tends to have this problem would want to be judicious.

Last edited by Seamus; Jan 29th, 2018 at 09:35 AM. Reason: typo correction
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