Death by computer

It’s true your computer can kill you. We’re not just talking about the gamers who have died at their machines after days of no food and water, but anyone who is affected by long hours at their desk.

Sitting at a computer for hours on end can cause fatal blood clots, just as long flights can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), known as economy-class syndrome.

Researchers from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand discovered the link when a 32-year-old man who sat at his computer terminal for up to 18 hours a day nearly died after he developed a blood clot in his leg that travelled to his lungs.

DVT is caused when blood thickens in a vein, forms a clot and causes the leg to swell. The most serious complication is when part of the clot breaks off and travels to the heart or other vital organs.

So what can you do about it? Doctors suggest flexing your toes and ankles, drinking water and avoiding alcohol. Getting up to stretch your legs at least once an hour is also recommended. And even taking an aspirin, which helps to thin the blood, can help.