If you have had a heart attack, a holiday could be the rest and relaxation you need to start feeling more like yourself again. However, there are many factors to consider when flying after a heart attack.
Before you start to plan your holiday, speak to your GP or specialist to ensure they confirm you’re well enough to fly.
Are you at risk of having another heart attack?
The British Cardiovascular Society recommends that those who are at low risk of having another heart attack can fly as soon as three days after their heart attack. Those who are considered to be low risk tend to be, under 65, where no further treatment is planned and they have only had 1 heart attack.
Most people with heart failure can continue to fly, providing they have recovered without further complications and have been declared fit to fly by their GP.
Those who have had heart failure are more likely to experience leg and ankle swelling during the flight and they may experience difficulty breathing, this is why it’s important to check with your GP before you plan to fly.
If you are over the age of 65 and have had more than one heart attack but no further treatment is planned, the Civil Aviation Authority recommends that you’re able to fly from 10 days after your most recent heart attack as you would be considered medium risk.
If further treatment is planned and you’re still having symptoms of heart failure you would be considered to be at high risk of having another heart attack and should wait until your condition is more stable before planning to fly.
In all cases, check with your GP before flying after a heart attack.
If you have had heart failure you may be at a higher risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis. To lower your risk of DVT during flight you can:
– Stay well hydrated by drinking water before, during and after the flight
– Do some gentle leg and ankle exercises while you’re seated for example flexing your ankles and making circles with your feet regularly
– Wear flight compression stockings, especially if you’re travelling long haul
– Avoid alcohol and sleeping pills
– Take short walks when safe to do so
If you’re on medication for your heart failure, make sure you take enough supplies to last you your trip plus some extra in case of any delays. Always keep medication in original packaging with the names of the medicines on show.
While you’re on your holiday it’s important to take appropriate precautions to ensure you can fully enjoy your trip. Remaining healthy throughout your holiday can help you feel your best and lower your risk of falling ill again.
– Eat healthy, fresh, local foods and avoiding anything processed
– Stay hydrated
– Do some gentle exercise to keep moving- this could be a length in the pool or a stroll down to the local shops
– Avoid alcohol and staying out in the sun for long periods
Are you planning on flying after a heart attack? Do you have any tips to add? Let us know in the comments section below.