A blood clot survivor has backed the claim that sitting down is worse for your health than smoking – but warned that sedentary lifestyles didn’t just make you fat.
Paul Westerman, who almost died when a deep vein thrombosis in his lower limb travelled through his heart to his lungs, spoke out following the release of a report by Queen’s University and Ulster University.
The study found that sedentary lifestyles could be linked to obesity – as well as an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
But Paul, a former trustee of Thrombosis UK and an appointed member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in its examination of thromboembolic diseases, said the report highlights the impact of sedentary lifestyle, but states the figure would be higher if it acknowledged the impact of blood clots.
“The research quite rightly pinpointed that the NHS is spending £700 million a year treating the ill effects of our sedentary lifestyles,” he said.
“But what it failed to acknowledge was that £200 million a year is spent on treating thrombosis-related events, which are caused by extended periods of sitting down.
“Many people still link DVT to long plane trips but thrombosis can affect anyone of any age who sits still for long periods of time.
“This includes people with sedentary jobs and those who take long periods of travel, have had an operation, even those who binge-watch TV or spend long periods gaming.”
According to statistics, every six seconds someone dies as a result of thrombosis and blood clots kill more people than AIDs, breast cancer, prostate cancer and motor vehicle crashes combined.
Paul is pushing for the Government to review the cost of treatment for pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – both of which can be easily prevented.
He said: “Prevention is better than cure and the cost of treating the effects of a sedentary lifestyle could be significantly reduced if we encourage people to move more and take responsibility for taking preventative measures themselves.
“By reviewing the current situation, backing vital research and product development, and looking into raising awareness, the Government can help save lives while saving that money and reinvesting it into the service we all hold dear.”
Since Paul’s blood clot, he has launched the #SeekHELP campaign to raise awareness of the signs of DVT and to warn people who experience Heat, Excessive redness, Localised swelling or Pain to get urgent medical attention.
As part of his passion to save lives, Paul founded RBR Active and the company is currently in the clinical trials stage of developing a ground-breaking product with medical backing which could drastically reduce the instances of DVT.