Travelling with heart disease

Posted on September 25, 2013 by Guest Writer
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Having a heart condition doesn’t prevent you from travelling or enjoying your holiday, it does however mean that a little extra preparation is required to make your trip as stress-free as possible.

Heart disease is a blanket term covering a range of conditions including, but not limited to, coronary heart disease, congenital heart disease and abnormal heart rhythms, all of which need careful management and consideration when it comes to travel.

First and foremost, it is advisable that you arrange an appointment with your GP to ensure you are fit and well enough to travel before making any arrangements and booking travel insurance.

If your heart condition is stable, well managed and you are given the green light to travel by your doctor then usually there is no reason you shouldn’t go on holiday. It’s still important to plan your itinerary in a way that keeps stress to a minimum, and with that in mind we’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare for your holiday.

Preparing for your trip

There’s plenty to think about when planning a holiday and if you’re travelling with a heart condition, you need to add a few things to the list:

  • Take a full supply of medication plus spare and keep it in the original pharmacy dispensed packs. It is also worth bringing your prescription and a letter from your GP detailing your condition and medication along with any devices you may have such as a pacemaker
  • When organising your accommodation, look for hotels or villas that are close to the local amenities – and avoid hilly destinations. This will reduce the amount of unnecessary walking you may have to do on a daily basis and any additional strain on your heart

During the journey

The journey to and from your destination is often the most tiring aspect of your holiday, with navigating through airports and stations, lack of sleep and potential jetlag all contributing to increased stress levels.

  • To make things easier, arrange assistance wherever possible and give yourself plenty of time to allow for a few relaxing interludes
  • Anyone with a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) will need to tell security staff as they could set off metal detector alarms. It’s also important to bring your device’s identification card with you
  • Heart conditions can increase your susceptibility to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), especially when travelling by air. To reduce the risk of a DVT occurring the British Heart Foundation provides the following suggestions: get some well fitted flight socks, store your bags in the overhead locker to give you room to stretch your legs, change your position by walking around whenever possible, drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine during the flight

When you arrive

Once you reach your destination, it’s time to unwind, there’s just a few things worth keeping in the back of your mind:

  • Avoid visiting locations where there are extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold as this can strain your heart. If you want to travel to altitudes above 2,000 metres, it is worth speaking to your GP or heart specialist first as the lower oxygen levels can cause headaches, extreme breathlessness and trigger angina symptoms
  • Be careful when you visit the pool or go in the sea as immersion in water causes your blood to redistribute around the body causing changes in pressure in the chest cavity. These effects increase when the water temperature is colder and sometimes it can lower your heart rate and increase your blood pressure
Travelling with heart disease

Travel Insurance with Heart Disease

Travel insurance that covers your heart conditions will provide you with great peace of mind for your holiday as you could face costly hospital bills if you’re not adequately insured.

Heart disease should not stop you enjoying your holidays. If you pass the medical screening and your doctor has declared you fit enough to travel, Staysure can often offer travel insurance for many heart conditions. Policies cover emergency medical treatment, repatriation and much more while you are away.

Get a quote online in a matter of minutes or talk to our travel insurance specialists on 0800 033 4902.

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