Jetting off to an overseas destination doesn’t need to be off limits just because you have a current or pre-existing heart condition.
In fact, as long as your heart condition is under control, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a relaxing and well-earned vacation.
But, before you plan your getaway, there are a few important things to consider. Natalie Ball, director at comparetravelinsurace.com.au, shared her tops tips for travelling with heart conditions.
With over 4.2 million Australians living with heart disease, Ball says travelling with a heart problem is incredibly common.
However, even if your heart condition is stable and you feel well, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor before you book your flights. They will be able to suggest ways that you can improve your health in the lead up to your trip, such as diet or exercise plans.
Ball also recommends stocking up on your medication, as you may not be able to easily obtain them if you run out.
“When you board a flight, have your medication in its original bottle with the prescription letter from your doctor, and always transport it in your carry-on – if your checked luggage ends up in the wrong place, you don’t want your medication to be there too,” she says.
It’s super important to get the right travel insurance for your heart condition before you jet off. However, depending on how severe your condition is, travel insurance may vary.
“We’ve noticed a significant increase in potential travellers looking to cover themselves for a range of heart conditions, particularly heart attacks, atrial fibrillation and stents,” Ball says.
“While it used to be incredibly common for insurers to have blanket exclusions for heart conditions, the industry is becoming more sophisticated and cover is now more widely available. It’s important for travellers to take advantage of this and cover their condition if they’re able to.”
With hundreds of policies out there and companies using confusing, unnecessary jargon, purchasing the right insurance can be confusing. But don’t be put off, it’s not that scary.
In fact, Ball says insurers are willing to take on travellers with more complicated health histories. Columbus Direct, 1Cover and InsureandGo are just some of the insurers who offer real-time risk-based medical screening forms — these allow you to answer questions about your condition and they’ll let you know immediately if they can cover you and if there will be an increase in the premium.
“If you’re an otherwise healthy non-smoker who can get around without breathlessness, has a preventative stent or had a heart attack three years ago — these things no longer seem to be a barrier to getting full travel health cover with these advanced medical screenings,” she says.
However, if you’re having trouble getting cover with a standard travel insurer, Ball recommends looking at a specialist medical travel insurer, like AllClear Travel Insurance, as they consider a wider range of conditions for those of any age.
If you have a current or pre-existing heart condition, you might want to exercise caution during holiday activities. Don’t take part in any strenuous activities unless your doctor has given you the all-clear to participate.
Due to increased physical activity, sun exposure and alcohol, dehydration can be quite common, which can in turn cause a strain on your heart due to decreased blood circulating through your body. Ball recommends drinking plenty of water, particularly as soon as you wake up.