Hours spent binge-watching that hot new series might feel great, but it’s doing no favors for your blood vessels.
A study found that people who spend too much time in front of the TV are at increased risk for blood clots in their veins—a condition called venous thromboembolism (VTE). These clots, which often occur in the legs, can dislodge and travel to the lungs, causing a potentially deadly condition called pulmonary embolism.The clots have also been nicknamed “economy-class syndrome,” after cases occurred among passengers on long-haul flights.
Here is a analyzed data from more than 15,000 Americans, aged 45 to 64, in a long-term study that began in 1987. As of 2011, nearly 700 cases of VTE had occurred among the participants. Those who watched a lot of television had a 70 percent higher risk of developing one of the clots than people who never or seldom watched TV. This risk remained high even after factors such as the person’s weight or exercise levels were taken into account.The research was published online Feb. 21 in the Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis.
The study couldn’t prove that it was the TV watching, specifically, that caused the uptick in clots, it could only point to an association. But it tells us we should not ignore the potential harms of prolonged sedentary behaviors such as TV viewing.