Holiday Insurance for Vascular Disease
Taking a holiday and spending time relaxing can be the perfect thing to do when you have a heart condition however, advance planning will be crucial if you want to stay stress free when away from home.
It is always worth checking with your GP before you book your trip, that you are in fact well enough to travel and that the GP isn’t considering further tests or treatment for you. They will also be able to help you understand what your limits are and what you can realistically expect to do when on holiday.
What is vascular disease?
Vascular disease is the most common precursor to coronary heart disease and heart attack. It is caused by inflammation and weakness of the veins and arteries and by the build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels.
The accumulation of these deposits happens over a long period of time and can be virtually symptomless until the arteries and veins become so damaged, the blood flow to vital organs and muscles is reduced and causes lack of mobility and pain.
One of the most common forms of vascular disease is peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which is when the arteries in your legs are affected. According to Circulation Foundation it is estimated that 9% of the UK population suffer from PVD, which causes painful legs when walking, ulceration and even amputation.
What risk factors are associated with vascular disease?
There are several risk factors which can accelerate the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries which can lead to vascular disease such as:
- family history of vascular disease, angina, heart attacks or stroke
- high blood pressure
- being overweight
- high cholesterol levels
- an unhealthy diet
- lack of exercise
Taking some time out to relax and enjoy a holiday can be the perfect thing to do, whether you’ve just been diagnosed with heart disease or have been experiencing it for a longer period of time.
Here are some useful tips when travelling with a heart condition:
Choosing the right destination
Be realistic when choosing the final holiday destination, think about what you want to get out of your holiday rather than letting the holiday take it out of you. Research what medical care may be available to you in the event of a medical emergency. Take into consideration holiday islands may not have accident and emergency hospital facilities also, check how far away from the nearest doctor is your hotel located.
Are there lots of steps to climb? Is the beach more than a short walk? How reliable is the public transport? What’s the average daily temperature? These are some of the questions you need to be asking to ensure you get the most out of your holiday from the outset.
Organise your medication in advance
If you are entitled to free prescriptions at home this won’t be the case when travelling abroad. So take enough medication for your trip as well as a few days extra too just in case you have any delays on your return trip. Also, consider keeping a list of any prescribed medications you are taking including their generic and brand name in case you need emergency supplies
Long haul flights
Flying with heart disease shouldn’t be an issue but it’s always worth checking with your GP that you are fit to fly, especially on long haul flights. If you’ve been fitted with a pacemaker or and ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) inform the airport security as they will need to be made aware of it when you pass through airport security. You may also be more prone to DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) when you have heart disease.
To reduce your chances of getting a DVT during your flight, wear compression stockings while under taking gentle leg exercises when sitting, it is also a good idea to have a walk around the aeroplane at least once every hour. Remember to stay hydrated with lots of water and avoid too much caffeine and alcohol.
Buy comprehensive travel protection
Standard travel insurance may not cover your medical condition(s) so you could be at risk of travelling without the protection you need. Buying a specialist travel policy will provide you with the peace of mind that should you need to cancel your trip because of your heart disease, or you have a medical emergency while travelling, you’ll have the cover in place to protect any expenses you’ve already paid, or are contracted to pay terms and conditions apply of course!
If you’ve struggled to get travel insurance for your condition, Free Spirit could help.
Getting a heart condition travel cover quote is simple!
Need a quote fast? Our fully interactive website includes online medical screening.
We will ask you questions about your pre-existing medical condition(s) to ensure you get the cover that’s right for you. You must give full and true answers to all the questions. If you do not do so, your travel insurance policy may not protect you in the event of a claim.
Some questions we may ask you about your vascular disease could be:
- Have you ever had a stroke (or a mini-stroke) which caused symptoms for more than 24 hours?
- Are you awaiting investigation and/or treatment for this condition?
- How many transient ischaemic attacks (if any) have you had in the last six months?
- How many transient ischaemic attacks (if any) have you had in total?
- Do you suffer from an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation)?
- Have you ever been a smoker?
To ensure you get the cover you need, we may have other questions that we need to ask you based on the answers you provide.
We’re on hand to help you
Should you need any help whilst getting a quote or if you have any questions not covered by our frequently asked questions page, please call 0800 170 7704 to speak to a friendly voice in our UK based dedicated Free Spirit customer services team, and your call will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. We are open Monday to Friday 8am-6pm, closed Bank Holidays.
Last updated: 15th June 2016.