Watching television for long hours may increase death risk

Tokyo: Watching a lot of television every day may increase the risk of dying from a blood clot in the lungs, according to new research.

A lung blood clot, medically known as a pulmonary embolism, usually begins as a clot in the leg or pelvis as a result of inactivity and slowed blood flow.

If the clot breaks free, it can travel to the lungs and become lodged in a small blood vessel.

The researchers asked 86,024 participants, aged between 40 to 79 years on how many hours they spent on watching television.

It was found that deaths from a pulmonary embolism increased by 70 per cent among those who watched television from 2.5 to 4.9 hours daily. Forty per cent deaths were recorded for each additional two hours of daily television watching and two and a half times among those who watched it for five or more hours.

“Deaths from pulmonary embolism are believed to be under reported because diagnosis is difficult. The most common symptoms of pulmonary embolism – chest pain and shortness of breath – are the same as other life-threatening conditions, and diagnosis requires imaging that many hospitals are not equipped to provide with,” said Hiroyasu Iso, Professor, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine.

The researchers accounted for several factors that might have influenced findings, including obesity, diabetes, cigarette smoking and hypertension.

After the number of hours spent watching television, obesity appeared to have the next strongest link to pulmonary embolism.

“Nowadays, with online video streaming, the term ‘binge-watching’ to describe viewing multiple episodes of television programs in one sitting has become popular. This popularity may reflect a rapidly growing habit,” said Toru Shirakawa, Researcher, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine.

The study was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.