How Watching TV Can Increase Your Risk of Blood Clots

Watching TV Can Increase Your Risk of Blood ClotsGet up and move! Do something—anything.

That’s the advice of a recent study published in Circulation that investigated the relationship between watching TV and dying from a pulmonary embolism or blood clot in the lung. Television viewing was used as a measure of inactivity.

This study found that people who watched TV for 5 or more hours a day were much more likely to die from a blood clot than those who watched TV for less than 2.5 hours a day, as shown in the Table below:

TV Viewing Time and Mortality Rate from Pulmonary Embolism*

TV Viewing Time per day (hours)Mortality rate per 100,000 people per year
Less than 2.5 hours2.8
Between 2.5 and 4.9 hours4.8
Five or more hours8.2

*Adapted from Table in Circulation 2016;134:355-357.

Who participated in this study? A total of 86,024 men and women between the ages of 40 and 79 years participated in this study. Each person was asked how many hours of TV they watched each night.

Why does this happen? Prolonged sitting or immobility reduces the amount of blood flowing through your blood vessels, especially the veins in your legs. This condition, known as venous stasis, increases your risk of forming blood clots.

Tips to Avoid Blood Clots While Watching TV

  • Stand up
  • Stretch
  • Walk Around
  • Tense and relax leg muscles
  • Wiggle your toes

These lifestyle changes may help prevent future cardiovascular problems.

Next Steps: