(12/11/13) - A little known condition could put your life at risk when you travel this holiday season.
Frequent road trips home during college were a part of life for Mallory click.
"I was trying just to drive straight through and get there, and you know, just so I wouldn't be wasting time driving," she said.
But the five and a half hour trips nearly took her life at age 21.
"My leg was just throbbing and I had a hard time sleeping that night and I was just kind of tossing and turning all night," she said.
The pain and swelling were caused by deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in her leg that nearly doubled its size and sent her to the emergency room.
"It's crazy. I would have never thought at such a young age I could get blood clots," she said.
DVT impacts 2 million people a year in the U.S., and doctor Heather Hall says most people know nothing about it or its risks.
"It's when that clot breaks off and travels to the lung and becomes a pulmonary embolism that it can be fatal," Hall said.
Every year, DVT kills more than 100,000 Americans, more than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
"Anything that makes a person less active or less mobile is going to put them at risk for developing a DVT," Hall said.
Her best advice when traveling? If you're driving, stop every four hours to stretch your legs and get your blood flowing.
"If you're stuck on a flight and you can't get up and walk, something you can do is just sit in your seat and do calf raises. So raise, keep your toes on the floor, and raise your heels up and down," Hall said.
Plus, stay hydrated.
"Try to avoid alcohol. Try to avoid becoming dehydrated when you fly," she said.
And know your risk factors.
"Are you a smoker? Are you overweight? Do you have a family history of developing blood clots?" Hall said.
All things Click is aware of now.
"I'm very lucky to still be here," she said.
Using birth control pills, being overweight, and smoking can also increase your risk of DVT.
If you experience sudden pain and swelling in your calf or leg, you should see a doctor immediately.
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