Firstly, what exactly is a cardiac arrhythmia?
A cardiac arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm that is characterised by changes in heart beat. Sometimes these can be felt noticeably as heart palpitations during rest, exercise or after consuming caffeine.
The abnormal rhythms are caused by issues with your heart’s electrical system. This system may become altered or damaged by heart disease, blocked electrical signals, abnormal signalling pathways or cardiac cells which fire signals when they shouldn’t be. Cardiac arrhythmias can also be brought on in susceptible individuals by some medications, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. A cardiac arrhythmia can also be brought on by a specific type of angina (Prinzmetal) which causes a coronary artery to spasm and block blood supply to the heart. Some arrhythmias have no known cause.
A cardiac arrhythmia is diagnosed by performing a battery of tests. These can include an electrocardiogram (ECG), exercise stress test and electrophysiology studies. There are four different types of arrhythmias – bradycardia (excessively slow heart rate), premature (extra beats), supraventricular tachycardia (excessively fast heart rate) and ventricular rhythmic disorders (affects blood flow throughout body).
Cardiac arrhythmias can be managed with medication, surgery (including implantable cardiac defibrillators, and artificial pacemakers), as well as lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking.
Cardiac arrhythmias and travel insurance
Having cardiac arrhythmia should not stop Australians from having a great holiday, particularly as insure4less specialises in providing affordable travel insurance for travellers with pre-existing medical conditions.
For your own peace of mind, you can relax in the knowledge that you have the protection of one of the world’s largest insurers and medical emergency teams to support you whilst overseas if you suddenly suffer from a cardiac event related to arrhythmia. These include heart attacks and strokes. We ask you to declare your cardiac arrhythmia when completing your online travel insurance application. We’ll immediately tell you if we can provide cover at no extra cost, or if there is any extra premium to pay. Occasionally, we may have to decline cover (depending on your health at the time of application).
Once you have successfully applied for cover we’ll send you your certificate of insurance and Product Disclosure Statement (as this explains the cover) via email. You can then simply travel and relax.
Here’s just a few cardiac arrhythmia travel tips:
- When flying, put your cardiac arrhythmia medicines in your take on bag – making sure you pack a little extra to allow for delays. Make sure you take medication bottles labelled with your name and the prescription information.
- Select healthy options when eating out wherever possible and drink plenty of water.
- Inform airline/transport staff if you have had a defibrillator or pacemaker implanted at check in.
- Don’t forget to exercise on the plane (select an aisle seat if you can) and do plenty of walking after you have arrived.
- Always save a copy of your most recent prescription in an online facility (such as Google Drive) so that you can access it in the event of an emergency.