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Don’t Let Heart Disease Spoil Your Trip

POSTED BY: Amber Ball Huhn

Heart disease should not ground your travel plans.  A little preparation will allow you to have a comfortable and heart-healthy vacation.

Talk With Your Doctor

If you were recently hospitalized or had a procedure, make sure your physician has cleared you for travel.

If you have a heart arrhythmia, ask your physician for a copy of your electrocardiogram (ECG).

Ask your cardiologist if he or she knows of a physician to contact in your travel location should a problem arise and locate the nearest medical facility.

Traveling Abroad?  Be sure you are up to date on immunizations required for the country you are visiting.

Make sure your medical insurance will cover you while traveling.

Traveling

  • Travel with luggage that has wheels and get help with your luggage from a porter or fellow travel mate if possible.
  • Stay hydrated and try to avoid alcoholic beverages as they cause dehydration.
  • When traveling long distances, there is an increased risk of developing blood clots.  Sitting for long periods of time slow blood circulation and on planes, oxygen levels are lower.
  • Try to elevate your feet above your chest when possible to help with circulation.
  • If flying, make sure to request an aisle seat so you can easily get up at least once every two hours to walk around.
  • If flying for more than 8 hours, wear compression stockings.

 If you have a heart device, such as a pacemaker or implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD), and will undergo a security screening:

  • Inform the security officer prior to the screening process.
  • Avoid the metal detector and ask to be screened by imaging technology or a patdown.
  • Traveling Abroad?  Be sure to bring contact numbers and web site addresses for your device.

Diet and Exercise

  • It is important to be well rested prior to your trip as well as to get plenty of sleep while traveling.
  • Will you be doing a lot of walking on your vacation?  If so, make sure to build up your endurance by starting a walking program prior to.
  • If you are on a special diet, continue to follow those guidelines as much as possible while you are away.  Try to avoid the salty snacks on the place and instead bring healthier snack options with you!

Lastly, if you are on vacation and have any heart related symptoms, don’t be afraid to get checked for fear of spoiling your vacation.  Seek emergency room treatment should you have any chest pain, signs of a heart attack, or other symptoms of heart related problems.