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Cardiologists advise postponing international travel for cardiac patients.

Monday, 6 July, 2020 Comments

Travel and cardiovascular diseases


  • Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death in the world, with 17.5 million deaths per year.
  • In Spain, 122,426 deaths were registered annually, according to the latest official data from the INE in 2017.

Traveling is among the most popular leisure activities. The impact of the Covid19 has forced the world population to change their tourist habits. Specifically, patients with cardiovascular diseases are a group that must take a series of precautions to avoid complications during the holidays.


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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in adult international travelers (1). Cardiologists recommend postponing international travel for people who have undergone changes in their cardiovascular health during the months of confinement. However, the fact of traveling should not become a problem when suffering from a heart condition, according to the Spanish Heart Foundation (FEC).

In Spain, more than 10 million people suffer from heart-related diseases. These include high blood pressure, cerebrovascular accident (stroke), coronary heart disease (angina pectoris and myocardial infarction, peripheral vascular disease and heart failure, among others.


Dr. Guillem Pons, a cardiologist at Creu Blanca, warns that the confinement situation has worsened the clinical condition of many cardiac patients.


“A long period of rest, such as holidays, is beneficial for cardiac patients. But when we talk about confinement, physical rest has not been accompanied by psychic rest, so the anxiety generated has damaged the heart, "explains Pons.


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Short and proximity trips are the best allies for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases. "Heart patients require a slower recovery period. I recommend that you carry out a review with your cardiologist and, in case you want to travel, choose a light destination. For example, a coastal town without too much altitude, "adds Pons.


Specifications recommended by cardiology experts


● Avoid traveling to places with extreme temperatures, very hot or very cold, which, together with the possible adverse effects of the medication, can affect breathing and increase cardiovascular tension.

● Perform a review with a cardiologist. Explain if changes have been noticed in the last few months, especially during confinement.

● Stay a few more weeks in the usual environment before traveling.

● If possible, choose a destination close to the sea.

● Avoid countries and places higher than 2,000 meters in height. The higher the altitude above sea level, the less oxygen in the air. So the heart should work harder, which can lead to arrhythmias, heart failure and signs of heart attack symptoms.


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References


(1) Irish Medical Journal http://imj.ie/a-heart-for-travel-travel-health-considerations-for-patients-with-heart-disease-and-cardiac-devices/



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