Travel Tips for People with Heart Rhythm Disorders
If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart rhythm disorder and love to travel, you might be wondering about the impact it will have on your plans. You’ll be happy to hear that travel is still possible, though it may require a little extra planning for some people with heart rhythm disorders. These six travel tips for people with heart rhythm disorders can help.
Manage stress while traveling
Traveling involves a lot of variables. Packing, following up on details, coordinating travel schedules, and managing reservations can all create stress. Stress exacerbates many heart rhythm disorders and can trigger episodes of irregular heartbeat. Take the time to mitigate the stress by arriving early and planning breaks in your travel day, where possible, to do some deep breathing or other stress reduction techniques.
Drink plenty of fluids and be mindful of what you eat
For many, trying the local delicacies is a highlight of a vacation. But vacation is not always conducive to healthy eating, particularly on travel days. Food options on the road or airport are often high in sodium and most people don’t drink as much water when traveling. Carry your water bottle and set a goal to drink extra water while traveling to avoid dehydration. Take the time to seek out fruits, vegetables, and low-sodium options for snacks, whether you pack them from home or purchase them along the way.
Understand the impact of altitude
Altitude, whether in the cabin of an airplane or a mountain town, creates unique stresses on the body. The high altitude of a mountain town can trigger irregular heartbeats and have other impacts on the body. Reduce your activity levels for the first few days as your body adjusts to the altitude and pay extra attention to any symptoms of your condition.
Keep up with medication
For all heart patients, taking medication regularly is important. Medication availability varies by location, so be sure to pack enough medication for the entire trip and keep it in your carry-on baggage if flying. Vacation often includes changes to routine, so set alarms on your phone to remind you to take your medication on a consistent schedule.
Carry your health information
If your heart rhythm disorder means you have a pacemaker or defibrillator, be sure to inform the security agents at the airport. If you have documentation of your implanted device and the need for alternate screenings, carry that with you, especially if traveling internationally. In addition to packing medication, keep a list of your medications and contact information for your cardiologist with you. In the unfortunate event that your baggage is lost or stolen or if you have a medical emergency, having this information can help you get the replacement medication or treatment you need.
Research medical care options for your destination
If you are traveling internationally or to remote areas, medical facilities may not be as available to you as they are at home. Check with your insurance about coverage options at your destination or research travel insurance policies. Lastly, look up hospitals and clinics near where you are staying so you have the information in case of an emergency.
For most people, heart rhythm issues don’t affect ability to travel, but they can require a little extra attention to your health during the trip. As always, reach out to your doctor with any questions about your specific condition and how it could impact travel.