Couch potatoes and binge watchers, beware: Prolonged sedentary television watching can increase the risk of suffering from blood clots, even if people get the recommended amount of physical activity.
That finding is from preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017, a global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.
“Watching TV itself isn’t likely bad, but we tend to snack and sit still for prolonged periods while watching,” said Dr. Mary Cushman, M.Sc., co-author of the study and professor of medicine at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington.
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Prolonged TV viewing has already been associated with heart disease involving blocked arteries, but this is the first study in a western population to look at blood clots in veins of the legs, arms, pelvis and lungs known as venous thromboembolism or VTE, according to the Heart Association.
Among 15,158 middle-aged (45 to 64) participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, researchers found that the risk of developing a venous thromboembolism for the first time was:
▪ 1.7 times higher in those who reported they watch TV “very often” compared with those who watch TV “never or seldom”
▪ 1.8 times higher in participants who met recommended guidelines for physical activity and reported watching TV “very often”, compared with those who reported watching TV “never or seldom”
▪ Increased with more TV viewing both for life-threatening clots in the extremities and those in the lungs; and while obesity was more common in people who watched more TV, in the study only about 25 percent of the increased risk could be explained by the presence of obesity.
The Heart Association reports that each year, it is estimated that between 300,000 to 600,000 people in the U.S. develop venous thromboembolism, making it the most common vascular diagnosis after a heart attack or stroke.
Anthony Sorci: 916-321-1051.