Binge-Watchers, Beware: All That TV Time Poses Clot Risk

From - November 12, 2017

Binge-Watchers, Beware: All That TV Time Poses Clot Risk

SUNDAY, Nov. 12, 2017 -- If you love to while away a weekend watching a season's worth of episodes from a favorite TV series, you may inadvertently put yourself at risk for developing a dangerous blood clot.

When researchers compared people who reported watching TV more often to those who seldom or never watched TV, the risk of a venous thromboembolism (VTE) jumped by 70 percent.

A VTE is a type of blood clot that can block blood flow in a vein, according to the American Heart Association.

"I do not think TV watching itself is an evil thing, but everything in moderation," said study co-author Dr. Mary Cushman. She's a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont's Larner Medical College.

"Think about how you are spending your time, and see if you can take advantage of your TV time to get some activity in," advised Cushman.

Her own solution? Walking on her treadmill when she watches TV.

Cardiologist Dr. James Catanese concurred. He said when he watches TV, he rides a stationary bike.

If you are not going to exercise while watching TV, he recommended watching an episode and then doing something physical for 20 minutes.

"Physical inactivity is a risk factor for every cardiovascular disease, including VTEs," said Catanese, chief of cardiology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He was not involved in the research.

The study included more than 15,000 U.S. adults. They were between 45 and 64 years old when the study began between 1987 and 1989.

The study volunteers were asked if they watched TV "never or seldom, sometimes, often or very often." TV viewing information was updated in two time periods: 1993-1995 and 2009-2011, the researchers said. The study did not gather information on how many minutes a day people watched TV.

During more than 20 years of follow-up, nearly 700 people developed the dangerous blood clots.

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