How to Travel to USA with Heart Problems

Given today’s stressful lifestyle, anyone can fall prey to a heart condition. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and more have become the most common lifestyle diseases, all of which are also major risk factors for heart disease.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise then that cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, strokes and other circulatory diseases, are the leading cause of premature death all across the world. According to the estimates released by the WHO, around 17.7 million people lost their life from CVDs in 2015, accounting for 31% of all global deaths.

Doctors often recommend that people avoid travel by air if they are dealing with any pre-existing medical condition, especially if it is a heart problem. Traveling at a high altitude, while sitting for long hours, makes the conditions even more stressful for the traveler. This can aggravate the symptoms, sometimes even worsening the situation.

However, if you have to have to travel to the US, here are a few precautions you should take before and during your air travel.

Buy Travel Medical Insurance

A heart condition, as a pre-existing medical condition, is not covered by many travel insurance policies. Click on the link to find some very good travel insurance plans that do provide coverage for acute onset of pre-existing medical conditions up to a certain limit.

Before you travel to the US, it is wise to research about the medical facilities available there. Keep a list of local doctors and nearby hospitals. Also, confirm what your travel medical insurance will cover in case you do face an emergency during your trip. For instance, the policy might need you to visit only those professionals or hospitals that are part of its network.

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Keep Medication Handy

When traveling with a heart condition, make sure you travel with your medicines, packed both in your carry-on bag and the checked-in luggage. To avoid any kind of delays in taking the needed medicines, I would recommend packing a sufficient quota of medicines that can last the entire length of the trip. Do bring a copy of your original prescriptions too, in case you lose or misplace the medicines or want to get a refill.

Carry Copies of Medical Information

Other than the medicines, don’t forget to bring along copies of your medical history, your physician’s contact information and documents related to the medical procedures you might have undergone recently.

During the Flight

Although air travel today has been designed taking into consideration the needs of different types of passengers, it would be useful for you to keep certain precautions in mind during the flight, such as.

  • Drink More Fluid & Limit Sodium Intake: It is extremely important for a person with a heart condition to be mindful of their fluid and sodium (salt) intake, especially if they have a history of heart failure or have cardiomyopathy. You can pre-request the airline for low sodium meals when you book your tickets or when you web check-in. Staying hydrated will prevent blood clots. Make sure you drink water and not sugary, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
  • Book a Spacious Seat: It is easy for heart patients to feel congested and suffocated during a flight. If you do start feeling claustrophobic, stand up and stretch whenever possible. Since you might not want to disturb your fellow travelers, it is best to book an aisle seat or a seat with extra legroom.

Modern airplanes are equipped with safety medical equipment for emergencies. So, feel free to call the cabin crew, who are trained in advanced first aid and immediate life support, in case you feel any kind of discomfort.

So, there you have it. Things to ensure when traveling to USA with heart problems. Hope it was useful.

Let me know if you liked it or not.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.

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