Navigating Heart Health During Holiday Travel: Expert Tips for a Safe Journey
As the holiday season approaches, many individuals eagerly anticipate festive gatherings, delicious meals, and quality time with loved ones. However, if you are living with a heart condition, the hustle and bustle of holiday travel can pose unique challenges. Heart trouble and traveling over the holidays require careful consideration and planning to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. To help navigate this season, the American Heart Association (AHA) offers some suggestions.
Most people only need to toss a few clothes and essentials into a bag before they hit the road or catch their flight, but not folks who have heart problems, says Dr. Gladys Velarde, a professor of medicine at the University of Florida in Jacksonville.
“It’s not always that simple for people who have chronic health conditions that require multiple medications or special medical equipment,” Velarde said in an AHA news release. “There are also considerations for how to maintain your health and not put yourself at increased risk.”
But with a little pre-travel prep, people with heart problems can overcome the special challenges they might face while traveling, the AHA says.
“Anticipating a big trip can be stressful for many – and stress is not good for your health,” Velarde adds. “Every individual’s condition is unique, and you’ll want to tailor your travel plans to your specific needs. By taking a little time now to plan and prepare, you can enjoy your holiday.”
1. Consult Your Cardiologist
Before embarking on any travel plans, it’s crucial to consult with your cardiologist. Discuss your travel intentions and seek guidance on whether your health permits the journey.
Your cardiologist can provide personalized advice, review your current medications, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure you are well-prepared for the trip.
2. Plan Ahead
Planning is key when it comes to managing heart health during holiday travel. Consider factors such as the duration of your journey, mode of transportation, and destination.
If flying, inform the airline in advance about any special medical needs or assistance you may require. Air travel is especially tough during the holidays, and you can make things easier by planning ahead before you get to the airport, Velarde notes.
When booking your ticket, request a wheelchair or courtesy cart to get to your terminal.
Keep in mind that you might need to go through a special security screening if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator implant.
Consider wearing compression socks and walking around the cabin when it’s safe to do so, to improve your circulation. Long flights, particularly more than four hours, can increase your risk of blood clots.
For road trips, plan breaks to stretch your legs and avoid sitting for extended periods, reducing the risk of blood clots.
“Depending on where you’re traveling, you’ll also want to do some research and
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