In travel, you get what you pay for.
If you're not flying on junkets or corporate pockets or the beneficence
of deep pockets, you might find the cost of the frills of first
and business class unaffordable, or for the savings, something
you can suffer without. And alas, it's much more than the champagne
and the liquor tipsying you out even before takeoff, the cloth
napkins, the expanded wine list and choicer cuisine, the spacious
reclining chairs, and the permanently embededed five-star smiles
that accompany the upgraded service. It's the precious air quality,
the humidty, and, of course, the space. . . the stretching space.
. . the comforts of the space. What is so horribly compromised
in Economy class.
Studies have shown that in flights longer
than 12 hours, the incidence of deep vein thrombosis and thromboembolism
increased. One study suggested that 3% of travelers, crammed
and cramped up in the unyielding spaces of economy class, developed
clots on long flights. Although most of these cases are asymptomatic,
they are still potentially dangerous.
At higher risks are patients with a
history of varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency.
Preventive measures include increase
intake of non-alcoholic fluids, diminished salt use, frequent
standing, stretching and walking. Despite the narrow aisles and
full flights, these are easily accomplished by avoiding the times
of meal service and aisle congestion.
Prophylactic therapies include compression
stockings, aspirin, or low-molecular weight heparin. Or, the
use of pycnogenol.
Advocates of the use of pycnogenol suggest that it is safer than
aspirin, as it does not increase bleeding time or cause GI side
* Studies have shown pycnogenol superior to placebo in preventing
edema and venous stasis in patients at risk of thrombosis with
flights lasting 7-12 hours.
* Participants received 2 capsules 100 mg of pycnogenol, 2-3
hours before flight, 2 capsuels 6 hours later, and one capsule
the following day. Compared to placebo, the pycnogenol group
had a statistically significant less edema.
* The study further suggested other factors that may contribute
to flight-associated edema and release of thrombogenic factors:
immobility, decreased fluid intake, water loss in the dry cabin
atmosphere, decreased air pressure, relative hypoxia, and compression
of of the popliteal vein on the seat's edge.
* Of added concern is that the edema might also contribute to
retinal and brain edema with patients presenting with a variety
of complaints that may be attributable to jet lag: vision problems,
confusion, sleep and speech difficulties, especially of concern
in the elderly traveler.
* Pycnogenol is the collective
name for the active proanthocyanidin components extracted from
Pinus pinaster (Pinus maritima), also called the
French maritime pine tree.
* Possible mechanism of action: Like green tea, grape seed extract
and other polyphenol flavonoid compounds, it is an antioxidant,
a free-radical scavenger. Pycnogenol is believed to reduce atherogenesis
and thrombus formation by increasing nitric oxide levels which
causes a reduction the the vasoconstriction caused by epinephrine
and norepinephrine. It may also inhibit the oxidation of LDL
cholesteroll improve T- and B-cell function.
* No known adverse reactions nor allergies.
* No known interactions with herbs and other dietary supplements.
* No known interactions with diseases and conditions.
* No interactions with laboratory testing.
* Insufficient reliable information is available and should be
avoided in pregnancy and lactation.