A Guide to Traveling with Heart Disease

Traveling is stressful, plain and simple. No matter how often you travel or how much time and effort you’ve put into planning your trip, there’s bound to be something that goes awry. And as stressful as travel can be under traditional circumstances, when you throw heart disease into the mix, it can take on another whole dimension of stress. The key to worry-free travel with heart disease is talking to your doctor and planning ahead. When you’re prepared for worst-case scenarios in advance, you’re bound to have a safer, more enjoyable trip. So pack your suitcase, book your adventures and take off; just don’t forget to take these tips with you when you head out of town.

Get up and moving
Sitting immobile on a plane or in the car for long periods of time can increase the risk of blood clots and swelling in the legs. If you’re flying, request an end seat so it’s easier to stand up and walk the aisle of the plane. If you’re driving, make sure to get out and walk every couple of hours to increase circulation. You should drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and may want to wear compression travel socks or perform foot exercises as you sit.

Prepare your medication
If you take medication, bring an up-to-date list of all your medicines and doses and ensure you have enough for the whole trip (plus an extra week or so in case you experience delays). You should always bring your medication with you in your carry-on bag rather than a checked bag to avoid the problem of lost medication in lost luggage.

Catch some quality sleep
Make sure you are not physically or emotionally exhausted before embarking on your trip. Get a good night of sleep before travel and carry healthy, high-protein snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day. If possible, schedule a rest day after arriving at your destination to recover from the travel stress and prepare for activities ahead.

Stick to your diet
If you’re on a special diet at home, try to follow it as closely as possible while you travel. Although you might be eating out a lot, don’t be afraid to ask the chef to make adjustments to your meal so it’s healthier for your heart. In addition, try to avoid salty snacks on the plane and during the trip.

Find the best travel insurance
According to the Adult Congenital Heart Association, you should consider buying travel insurance before traveling and look for a plan that allows you to cancel your trip for any medical reason or care (including a pre-existing condition). You might also want a plan that covers trip interruption, lost baggage, medication and/or medical evacuation, including flight to appropriate hospitals.

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, boat or automobile, taking the necessary precautions to keep your heart disease in check is imperative. While the process of traveling can be stressful, your heart disease doesn’t have to be reason for it as long as you’re prepared in advance.

The Covenant Center for the Heart is a leader in comprehensive care for the region. Learn more about our extraordinary team and our extraordinary services.

Posted Date: 2/23/2017

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