You are reading Cerebral stroke: here’s how to fly a plane safely


Cerebral stroke: here’s how to fly a plane safely

August 1, 2018

In Italy it is the third cause of death and the first cause of disability and occurs when a cerebral vessel closes or breaks suddenly either because of lack of oxygen (ischemia) or because the leaked blood compresses a vessel (cerebral hemorrhage). Recognizing stroke is as important as knowing how to behave when you have had one under certain conditions, such as flying on an airplane. We talked about this issue with Dr. Simona Marcheselli, Head of Emergency Neurology and Stroke Unit in Humanitas.


Timely care to limit damage

The results of care and the quality of life associated with a stroke depend on several factors: from the patient’s condition to the timeliness of medical treatment, from assistance to rehabilitation. If therapy is administered within 4 ½ hours of symptom onset, it is more likely to contain disease-related damage and reduce any related disability. But how do you manage your daily life after a stroke? Among the most common questions there is certainly the one concerning the possibility to travel and in particular to fly on an airplane.


No particular restrictions on activities, provided the doctor approves

In the case of patients who have suffered a stroke, it is always a good idea to consult the doctor who knows the patient and his history to understand which activities are indicated and from which it is better to abstain. In general, there are no particular limitations to physical activity, especially if stroke has slightly impaired motor skills. Exercise, however, causes an increase in blood pressure and heart function, so it is advisable to consult your doctor to find out which activity is best suited to you, at what rate and at what intensity. The most suitable physical activity is aerobic activity, which should be done for about 30 minutes a day, at least 4-5 times a week (for example, walking with a fast pace).


Caution at high altitudes

At high altitudes, blood pressure tends to rise, the concentration of red blood cells increases over long distances, and on long journeys there is always a stasis of blood in the veins of the legs. “With regard to air flights – specified the specialist – it is always necessary to talk to the doctor in order to check their heart conditions, blood pressure and circulatory pressure. In general, it is advisable to wait at least three months from the stroke before driving again and it is recommended to undergo a visit to evaluate their motor, sensory and visual functions in order to drive safely for themselves and others.

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