Over 2 million people in the UK suffer from heart arrhythmias or heart rhythm problems, and the most common type of heart arrhythmia – atrial fibrillation – is experienced by an estimated 37,574 million people, according to research.
If you, or someone you know, is diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia, knowing whether or not it is safe to fly on a plane is necessary to ensure your or their safety during this journey.
In this article, you’ll learn what a heart arrhythmia is to better understand the disorder and answer the all-important question: can you fly with heart arrhythmia?
What is Heart Arrhythmia?
A heart arrhythmia is a disorder of the heart that affects its rhythm or rate. The condition is the result of electrical impulses created and emitted by the heart not functioning properly, causing an irregular heart beat.
At a resting state, the heart normally beats between 60-100 times per minute, but for those with arrhythmia, this may be higher or lower. Those who have atrial fibrillation often have a heart rate upwards of 140 beats per minute.
Symptoms of heart arrhythmia may be experienced as a flutter or racing of the heart but, in some cases, individuals may not experience any physiological symptoms at all. Usually, the condition is harmless, but in severe cases, it can place an individual’s wellbeing at risk. If you suspect that you may be suffering from a heart arrhythmia, please speak to your GP.
Can you Fly with Heart Arrhythmia?
According to medical research, travelling with arrhythmia is perfectly safe, as long as you are either suffering from no symptoms or you have been deemed clinically stable by a medical professional. It’s always best to check with your doctor, to be sure that your individual circumstances are safe, especially if you’re going on a long journey.
Advice for Travelling with Heart Arrhythmia
It is always important to be aware of factors that may impact a heart arrhythmia whilst flying, one of which is becoming dehydrated, which can worsen symptoms of arrhythmia if not avoided.
An increased cabin pressure caused by high altitudes can alter your normal blood pressure which – in turn – can result in the worsening of heart disease symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease and arrhythmia, this can be particularly problematic.
Ensuring you remain hydrated during a flight and drinking plenty of liquid regularly will help reduce the likelihood of any exacerbated symptoms.
So, when answering ‘should you fly with an irregular heartbeat?’, we advise that, before flying, you ensure that you have been given the go-ahead by a medical professional, take any necessary medications with you and buy appropriate travel insurance to make sure you condition is covered whilst travelling.
Many people have heart arrhythmias, but with the right preparation and management of your symptoms, there’s no reason that it should stop you flying and getting the chance to travel.
If you have heart arrhythmia and want to ensure that you have appropriate medical insurance that will cover any medical emergencies related to your condition, you can purchase this from Navigator Travel. Get in touch to find out more about the insurance policies we offer.