Health

Working From Home Can Lead to Hidden Health Risks

With people working remotely from a couch or dining room table, doctors encourage more physical activity.

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As the pandemic continues, millions of Americans are working from home and adapting to the remote lifestyle. 

What many may not realize are the long-term effects of sitting at a computer for countless hours and having little to no physical activities in between. 

News4 editor and married father of two Karl Whichard has been working from home, and he said it has been a big drawback to his health.

“I literally was working seven days a week, sometimes as many as 12, 13 hours a day. I would be working so much that my family would bring me food. They knew I was too busy to come upstairs and eat,” Whichard said.

The more Whichard worked, the less he moved.

He began to notice it was beginning to take a toll on his body when simple things like walking up a flight of stairs left him winded. 

“I was gasping for breath and was like, this does not feel right,” Whichard said. 

Doctors ruled out any heart trouble or respiratory illnesses, but the symptoms didn’t go away. Days later, he received a troubling CT scan and was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis.

“The CT technician was like, ‘Are you having any chest pain?’ And I said, ‘no,'” Whichard said. “And he said, ‘OK, well, hop up. We're heading to urgent care because you have a pulmonary embolism.'” 

He had a large blood clot in his right leg that broke off and traveled to his lungs, which caused the pulmonary embolism. 

Former NBC News Correspondent David Bloom died in 2003 due to the same diagnosis. He was reporting from Iraq, and doctors believe all the time he spent cramped inside armored vehicles contributed.

This dangerous condition kills more Americans each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.

Doctors recommend making simple changes to your diet and activity level because it can reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

Whichard is getting a pedal bike to put under his desk to keep moving when his Apple watch goes off and drinking a lot more water to stay hydrated.

“I listen to my Apple Watch now when it tells me to stand up every hour. That has been one of the big things,” Whichard said.

Whichard has been on blood thinners for 2 months – and he has 4 more months to go.

Using a standing desk or moving the laptop to a kitchen counter will improve health, according to doctors, preventing sitting for hours at a time.

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