My father was recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation or afib as its called. What it simply means is that instead of the heart contracting as it should, the top of the heart, the atria, just fibrillate. It sounds scary but it's a very common arrhythmia that people can live with for years. If you have it though, you are at risk of developing blood clots. The blood that never fully leaves the atria pools and can form clots that can cause problems in other parts of the body. Usually someone with afib will be on a blood thinner.
Here are some tips from the mayo clinic on traveling with afib. You should always speak to your doctor first.
Travel tips with atrial fibrillation
Some helpful tips to remember include:
-Bring your medications. Bring all of the medications you'll need for your trip, and keep them in your carry-on luggage.
-Carry a list of your medications. Having a list of your medications will make it easier to refill the medications if you run out of them or lose them. You may also want to bring copies of your original prescriptions.
-Take your time. Get to the airport early to give yourself plenty of time before your plane is due to depart.
-Bring your doctor's phone number. Keep your doctor's phone number on hand when you travel.
-Wear a medical alert bracelet. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a medical alert bracelet with information about your condition printed on it.
-Take steps to prevent blood clots. During your plane flight, walk around when you can to prevent blood clots in your legs. Your doctor also may recommend that you wear compression stockings.
-Find medical centers close to your travel destination. Before you leave, look at medical centers close to the destination where you'll be traveling. Find out what services your health insurance will cover. This can help you to be prepared in case of an emergency.
-Check the contact information for embassies. If you're traveling internationally, bring the address and contact information of the U.S. embassies or consulates in the countries where you'll be traveling. They can help with medical care in the area and offer general advice.
-Buy travel health insurance. Buy travel health insurance and medical evacuation insurance before your trip, in case of emergency while traveling overseas.
-Monitor the effects of blood-thinning medications. If you're taking warfarin (Coumadin), a type of blood-thinning medication, you'll need regular blood tests to monitor its effects. Check with your doctor to see if you'll need to test your blood while you're away.
-Ask about high altitudes. If you're going to be staying at a high-altitude location, such as in the mountains, check with your doctor first. High altitudes may worsen some types of heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). Your doctor may suggest that you rest and lower your normal activity level for several days after arriving at a high altitude. Also, watch for any new or unusual signs or symptoms of your condition or of altitude sickness.
With some planning, you can enjoy your travels and live an active life with atrial fibrillation.
And I know that we relax our diets while on vacation but those taking blood thinners should still avoid or limit the foods and drinks they have to avoid or limit at home. Have fun!
Thank you Stephanie that's great info to have. My dad took coumadin and I remember the blood work and watching that he didn't eat too many salads that would impact his clotting times.