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Avoid Heart Attack While Travelling Abroad

Avoid Heart Attack While Travelling Abroad

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The last thing you would want to worry while on holiday, is to have a heart attack.



Yay! You’ve arrived at your holiday destination! Just when you thought to yourself, you’re finally able to have some much-deserved rest and relaxation, you suddenly experience a sharp pain in your chest. Is it just from all the walking and long hours of flying? Or do you need immediate medical attention because you could be experiencing a heart attack?


Heart attacks do not discriminate. It can affect anyone, at any place and any time of the day. Experiencing a heart attack at your very own home or office is an experience that no one would wish for. So, just imagine, what happens if you experience a heart attack while you’re on your much-awaited holiday?


Here’s our guide on how you can prevent a heart attack while you’re on holiday and also the important steps you can take if you’re experiencing worrying heart attack symptoms.


How Does A Heart Attack Occur?


A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, most often by a build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries). The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.


What Are The Heart Attack Symptoms That A Person Should Be Aware Of?


Common heart attack signs and symptoms include:


  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

Though, it’s also important to take note that heart attack symptoms may vary in each individual.


What Are The Groups Of Travelers That Are At A Higher Risk Of A Heart Attack?


Travelers having certain risk factor can develop a heart attack. The risk factors include:

  • Age – Men age 45 or older and women age 55 or older are more likely to have a heart attack than are younger men and women
  • Tobacco – Smoking and long-term exposure to secondhand smoke increase the risk of a heart attack
  • Existing medical conditions – Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglyceride levels, obesity and diabetes increases one’s risk of a heart attack
  • Family history of heart attack – If your siblings, parents or grandparents have had early heart attacks (by age 55 for male relatives and by age 65 for female relatives), you may be at increased risk
  • Stress – You may respond to stress in ways that can increase your risk of a heart attack
  • A history of preeclampsia – This condition causes high blood pressure during pregnancy and increases the lifetime risk of heart disease


Does The Environment A Person Visits, Play A Role In Triggering A Heart Attack? For Example, Cold Weather?


The environment plays a crucial role in triggering a heart attack. Doctors have long known that cold weather is hard on the heart. Blood vessels constrict, which raises blood pressure.


Blood also clots more readily. Frigid temperatures increase strain on the heart, and too much physical exertion can worsen the burden and trigger a heart attack. For example, doctors have treated many patients whose heart attacks followed strenuous snow shoveling.


If A Person Is Experiencing A Heart Attack While On A Holiday, What Are The Steps That He Or She Should Take?


If you or someone you’re with has symptoms that might be a heart attack during holiday, call for emergency help first. If you don’t have access to emergency services, have neighbour or a friend drive you to the nearest hospital.


If it truly is a heart attack, you’re more likely to survive if you get treated within 90 minutes. While you’re on the phone, the person should chew and swallow an aspirin (unless they’re allergic it) to lower the risk of a blood clot. Take nitroglycerine if your doctor has previously prescribed it.


Also, if they are unconscious, begin CPR to keep the blood flowing. Push hard and fast on the person’s chest — about 100 compressions a minute. Get to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.


What Are Some Of The Measures A Tourist Can Take, To Prepare Him Or Her In The Event A Medical Emergency Occurs?


Tourists have to take following measures during a medical emergency:


  • Save the local medical emergency number in your mobile
  • Save the nearest hospital number
  • Save your local guide’s and friend’s number
  • Call for emergency help and seek for treatment without delay if symptoms of any health problem appears
  • Have a health worker along with you and your group when you are traveling to remote and hilly areas


Avoid a heart attack while on holiday by making these a habit:


  • Drink less alcohol
  • Manage your food portions
  • Beware of open fire
  • Stay on track with your medications and exercise
  • Know when to get help
Keng Yau Chan

Keng Yau is a Malaysian-based editor & writer for YesMyWellness.com. Fitness as a career wasn't always in his first choice and in fact, he was quite an obese lad before! However, after a major health scare, Keng Yau has decided to pursue a healthy lifestyle and solidify his commitment by completing Associate Degree of Applied Fitness from Australian College of Physical Education and is also an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor. He has worked for major fitness centres and often volunteers in public and community health initiatives.

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