Holidays are a precious time because they help to relieve the stress of everyday life and allow the body to alternate physical movement and rest in a virtuous way.

However, you should pay attention to the health of your heart, especially in those who suffer from hypertension, heart failure, or heart disease. Here is the advice for safe holidays, with the contribution of Dr. Maddalena Lettino, Head of Cardiology and Heart Failure in Humanitas.


In case of hypertension

“People with hypertension should consult their physician to adjust their hypotensive therapy during their holidays, depending on their intended stay. In fact, in the mountains, the pressure could increase; while at the sea, the course of the arterial pressure is less predictable.

In summer, however, exposure to high ambient temperatures very often causes a reduction in pressure and it is therefore important to remodel the therapy in order to avoid fainting or marked weakness,” suggests Dr. Lettino.


Hypertensive therapy when travelling by air

“People suffering from hypertension must maintain their therapy even if travelling by air and regardless of the length of the journey.

The only precaution concerns patients who take diuretics: during air travel in fact you may experience a discreet dehydration and therefore to avoid having problems, it is advisable to suspend the diuretic for the duration of the trip. If it is strictly necessary, because it is part of a cardio therapy that does not involve only the control of hypertension, it is good to drink fluids throughout the trip,” recommends the doctor.


Cardiopaths: sea or mountain?

“Cardiopathic patients can benefit from both holidays at the seaside and holidays in the mountains.

Where the mountain is chosen, however, it is advisable not to exceed 1000 meters of altitude for the places of stay and for the destinations of the walks; to adapt gradually to the walks and the differences in height, often stopping during the walks; to avoid demanding physical activities, such as extreme sports or long trekking excursions and to avoid going out during the hottest hours of the day.

At sea, however, you should pay attention to dehydration, asking your doctor for advice about the amount of fluid recommended to avoid imbalance, especially if you take diuretics and other antihypertensive therapies. It is also important to avoid prolonged exposure to high temperatures and not to engage in particularly demanding or extreme activities and sports,” recommends Dr. Lettino.


Heart failure, it can worsen with heat

“Although heart failure may worsen at any time of the year, high temperatures and the resulting risk of dehydration could worsen the conditions of patients with heart failure, who often suffer from low blood pressure and take many medications to regulate the volume of circulating fluid and the dilation of blood vessels in order to facilitate the work of the heart.

In patients with heart failure it is not so easy to vary the therapy and it is therefore advisable to take some precautions, in order not to worsen the disease.

Therefore, it is best not to go out during the hottest hours of the day; avoid physical exertion under the sun and avoid too abrupt variations in the quantity of liquids introduced (also in this case it is best to ask your cardiologist for advice).

Finally, warning signs should not be underestimated, such as swelling of the legs or breathing fatigue, especially if accentuated in the lying position. In their presence it is good to consult a doctor,” concludes Dr. Lettino.