Connect with us
Apply Now

Health + Fitness

Six Important Tips for Traveling with Heart Disease

Six Important Tips for Traveling with Heart Disease

Living with heart disease puts limitations on many things. Many people with heart disease often think about life changes when diagnosed with an ailment they’ll live with for the rest of their lives. Some even wonder if it’s safe to travel. 

Fortunately, heart disease doesn’t have to mean an absolute travel ban. It is natural to have doubts, but what if your symptoms worsen during the flight? How would you get timely help in a new and unfamiliar place? Is it safe to be in the air in the first place? So many questions. 

Traveling puts you in uncomfortable situations, stress, confined spaces, and changing oxygen and air pressures at high altitudes, potentially worsening heart conditions. 

However, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip with additional planning and awareness. 

Yes, your doctor might recommend that you don’t travel by air if your heart isn’t stable, but if your doctor gives it a go, put aside your apprehensions, plan a little extra, and you are good to go.

The following are some very useful tips for planning your next tour:

1. Prepare in advance

When preparing for your flight, keep your heart condition in mind and pack anything and everything you might need. Visit your doctor and get your prescriptions filled; take every medicine you use because you might not get the same type at your destination.

Remember not to stow away your medication and important equipment in your suitcase; keep them in your carry-on bag so that they are easily accessible whenever the need arises. 

Keep your defibrillator in an easy approach to have a quick solution in case of any emergency. If you haven’t bought one yet, it is time to get it; you can find defibrillators at variable prices; for reference, the cost of an Avive AED price is USD 1,395.00.

A defibrillator is an instant solution to a sudden cardiac arrest that can be life-threatening if not for immediate restoration of the heart rhythm. However, some defibrillators are unsuitable at an airport because the security equipment can interfere with its functioning. Consult the manufacturer to see if it is safe for use on travel.

2. Arrange for a portable oxygen concentrator

If you regularly use oxygen concentrators, you must arrange for them during the flight and at the destination. At least three weeks before your flight is due, contact the airlines and coordinate how you can manage it during the flight. 

Some airlines might demand extra charges for allowing portable oxygen concentrators. Also, call a specialized medical service provider to arrange for oxygen at the destination.

Oxygen arrangement is most needed in flight since low air pressure at high altitudes can create complications. The partial pressure of oxygen decreases at higher altitudes. This change is usually inconsequential for passengers, but for heart patients, any such drop can lower oxygen concentration in the body.

3. Plan your entire trip in advance and consult your cardiologist

If you suffer from heart disease, the journey is not your only worry; what you do on your tour may also threaten your heart’s health, so plan in advance and talk to your cardiologist if the activities suit you. 

Make a detailed outline; include your pre-holiday intentions, traveling, and activities for each day at the destination and the journey back home.

Consult your cardiologist or general practitioner to see if what you intend to do is safe. If you have planned any strenuous activity like hiking, swimming, or more walking than usual, discuss it with your doctor.

Though research does prove that physical activity is a major protective factor for many ailments, including heart disease, too much too soon can be a problem. Your doctor might recommend starting a walking program or cardiac rehabilitation to prepare for the physical activity you intend to do.

4. Identify a cardiologist in the host country

Being in an unfamiliar country without a reliable cardiologist during an emergency is not a good idea. You should be familiar with doctors near your destination before you leave for your flight. Talk to your cardiologist about it; they might be able to recommend a doctor in the host country.

If you are using Warfarin, you may have to check your INR (international normalized ratio) levels during the trip, so take a portable INR testing device. If not, your cardiologist will inform you of INR monitoring clinics at the destination so you can check it as soon as you land.

5. Avoid extreme environmental conditions

Certain environmental conditions seriously threaten your heart’s health if you have heart disease. Extreme cold or heat is dangerous because heart disease impairs your body’s temperature control system and homeostatic mechanism. Make sure to check the season and weather forecast at your destination.

Also, ensure that your airport has proper air conditioning and will not expose you to extreme hot or cold temperatures. Research indicates that air-conditioning offers the best protection against extreme heat, and electric fans are less effective in lowering body temperature.

6. Get a thorough pre-flight evaluation

Traveling isn’t safe if your heart condition isn’t stable, and only a recent examination can accurately tell if you are in good shape to travel. Before your trip, visit your doctor and take any pre-flight tests they recommend.

In general terms, your condition isn’t stable if you have had heart surgery or a heart attack in the last three months, a stroke in the past six months, very low blood pressure, chest pain in the previous three months, or an irregular heart rhythm.

Your doctor might suggest an exam to test your blood oxygen saturation; if it is lower than 91%, it is recommended that you don’t travel by air. 

Final words

Living with heart disease can be a huge challenge, but it doesn’t necessarily have to limit your freedom completely. 

If your heart’s condition is stable, you can enjoy international travel with only a few additional measures. But, be prepared for emergencies, have a portable oxygen concentrator, plan the entire trip in advance, locate a cardiologist in the host country, and get a thorough pre-flight examination. 

If you manage your condition well and your doctor declares your situation stable, there is no need to worry. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement Apply Now

Copyright © 2022 Disrupt ™ Magazine is a Minority Owned Privately Held Company - Disrupt ™ was founder by Puerto Rican serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Delgado who is on a mission to transform Latin America using the power of education and entrepreneurship.

Disrupt ™ Magazine
151 Calle San Francisco
Suite 200
San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00901

Opinions expressed by Disrupt Contributors are their own. Disrupt Magazine invites voices from many diverse walks of life to share their perspectives on our contributor platform. We are big believers in freedom of speech and while we do enforce our community guidelines, we do not actively censor stories on our platform because we want to give our contributors the freedom to express their opinions. Articles are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by our community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Disrupt or its employees.
We are committed to fighting the spread of misinformation online so if you feel an article on our platform goes against our community guidelines or contains false information, we do encourage you to report it. We need your help to fight the spread of misinformation. For more information please visit our Contributor Guidelines available here.

Disrupt ™ is the voice of latino entrepreneurs around the world. We are part of a movement to increase diversity in the technology industry and we are focused on using entrepreneurship to grow new economies in underserved communities both here in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America. We enable millennials to become what they want to become in life by learning new skills and leveraging the power of the digital economy. We are living proof that all you need to succeed in this new economy is a landing page and a dream. Disrupt tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real-life experience. Disrupt Magazine was designed to give the world a taste of that.