Travelling with a Heart Condition

Holidays are all about taking time out to relax. If you suffer from a heart condition there's no reason why you can't travel - just bear in mind that certain holidays might be more suitable than others and take the necessary precautions when you travel.

Here are a few things you should bear in mind if you are travelling with a heart condition:

  • Buy comprehensive travel insurance - can cover you if you suffer from a heart condition. Make sure you declare your illness when you book
  • Get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in addition to your travel insurance so that you can receive free or low cost state healthcare in the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland. Please note: Even though the UK has now left the EU, the EHIC will still be valid until the end of the transition period.
  • If you have recently had a heart attack or you've had surgery on your heart, consult your doctor before flying
  • Book accommodation that offers easy access - avoid hotels that are up steep hills or steps
  • Avoid very hot, very cold or high altitude destinations as this could put strain on your heart
  • Stick to a healthy diet while you are abroad. Here are some tips on what you can tuck into at popular holiday destinations:
    • Italy - Enjoy vegetable, seafood or chicken pizza toppings but avoid fatty meats
    • Greece - Eat humus or tzatziki with vegetables and chicken or fish souvalakia. Avoid taramasalata and moussaka as they are high in fat
    • Spain and Portugal - Gaspacho soup, seafood and paella are all healthy options, but avoid chorizo as it-s high in fat and salt
    • France - Eat moules marinere, steak and French onion soup. Avoid creamy soups and sauces and rich pastries that are high in saturated fats
    • Morocco - Tagines, couscous, grilled aubergine and dried fruit are all healthy options. Steer clear of pastries and pies and watch out for mint tea that's been loaded with sugar
    • Mexico - Eat chicken, fish or vegetable fajitas but avoid quesadillas and enchiladas as they can contain a lot of cheese. Guacamole and refried beans are high in fat so enjoy them in small quantities

Travelling with a heart condition can present a few hurdles, but if you take care at meal times, and plan early to avoid stress, then you will have a fantastic time abroad.