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Prolonged television watching could kill you

By Mark Young, SouthFloridaReporter.com Managing Editor, Sept 1, 2015 – It’s the weekend and you sit down on the couch or your favorite easy chair to watch some TV or sporting events. Maybe you’ll do some binge watching to catch up with “Game of Thrones,” “Downton Abby” or “House of Cards.”

What you need to know is being a “couch potato” just might kill you!  According to a study presented Monday, watching 5 or more hours of TV raises your risk of an embolism. Here’s some of the study:

By MedicalNewsToday.com staff, Sept 2, 2015 – Prolonged television watchers have a higher risk of fatal pulmonary embolism, a condition associated with long haul flights, reveals research presented at ESC Congress today by Mr Toru Shirakawa, public health research fellow in the Department of Social Medicine at Osaka University in Japan.1 The 18 year study in more than 86 000 people found that watching an average of five or more hours of television per day was associated with twice the risk of fatal pulmonary embolism as watching less than two and a half hours daily.

“The association between prolonged sitting and pulmonary embolism was first reported among air raid shelter users in London during World War II,” said Mr Shirakawa. “Nowadays, a long haul flight in an economy class seat is a well known cause of pulmonary embolism that is called ‘economy class syndrome’.”

He continued: “Pulmonary embolism is a serious, sometimes fatal, lung-related vascular disease characterised by sudden onset of symptoms such as chest pain or difficulty breathing. The disease is caused by obstruction of the pulmonary arteries by blood clots, generally formed in the leg vessels. Risk factors include cancer, prolonged bed rest or sitting, and oral contraceptive use.”

The current study is the first prospective assessment of the association between prolonged television watching and fatal pulmonary embolism. The study included 86 024 participants (36 007 men and 50 017 women) aged 40 to 79 years who completed a self administered questionnaire including information about average television watching time per day as part of the JACC Study,2 which started between 1988 and 1990. Participants were followed up for a median of 18.4 years until 2009. Mortality from pulmonary embolism was identified from death certificates.