Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the UK and worldwide* so it’s likely that it affects you or someone you know. Since 2000 we’ve helped many people with heart conditions travel to many different locations and, because this February 2016 saw The British Heart Foundation raising support and awareness of heart disease through their Wear It. Beat It Campaign, we decided to put together an article to help people going on holiday with a heart condition.

You could still have a fantastic holiday if you have, or have had, a heart condition (such as angina, heart attack, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms etc.), but you may need to make the right preparations and take the right precautions.

Wait till you’ve recovered

If you’ve recently suffered from a heart related illness you will want to wait until you’ve recovered before going on holiday. If you feel it’s necessary you can ask your GP if they feel you are fit for travel.

An analog alarm clock

-Consider visiting your GP before travelling.

You can make sure you have enough medication to last your holiday and your GP can offer advice on when to take medication if you’re entering a different time zone.

Visiting a GP

-Avoid extreme temperatures

If you have a heart condition visiting a climate that is either extremely cold or extremely hot can put extra strain on your heart. You may want to visit a place with a more moderate climate.

 Cracked soil desert

Take it easy

Try not to exert yourself too much on your holiday; if possible stay in accommodation that is close to amenities and unless you’re confident that you’ve recovered enough, avoid strenuous activities and high altitudes.

 Woman reading a book in a hamock

Air travel

For many people with a heart condition air travel poses no serious risk. However, the risk of deep vein thrombosis increases if you have a heart condition and remain immobile on a long haul flight for a long period of time. If you believe you may be at risk of DVT you should seek your GP’s advice, they can recommend anti-coagulants or compression sockings. For more information on DVT visit the NHS DVT prevention page

aeroplane

-Plan your journey to avoid stress

Do yourself a favour and plan ahead. Do everything you can do ensure your journey is as easy and stress free as possible. If you require any special requirements let the airport know beforehand. If you have a pacemaker or other equipment that may hold you up at airport security you might need a letter of explanation from your GP.

passport with airport tickets inside

For more information on travelling with a heart condition be sure to read our blog on Flying after a heart attack and the British Heart Foundation’s article on Holiday and travel

*Statistics from NHS coronary heart disease page