A stroke can be a terrifying and life-altering event for those who experience it. One of the biggest questions many stroke survivors have is whether or not they will ever be able to fly again. Fortunately, air travel after a stroke is possible but requires some special considerations regarding timing and safety precautions.
In this blog post, we’ll explain what steps need to be taken by doctors and patients alike before flying after a stroke as well as the potential risks involved in the process. Most importantly, we hope you’ll learn more about how soon you can safely board an airplane following your experience with stroke recovery.
A common concern for stroke patients is when they can fly again after recovery. Flying should be avoided for at least two weeks following a stroke, as the Stroke Association recommends. The chance of having another stroke increases dramatically in the initial month following the first stroke.
One month is generally recommended as a precaution against suffering a stroke while flying and being far from medical help. It’s essential to have access to medical care after a stroke in case any complications arise during the first few weeks.
Because of the variability between strokes, getting medical permission to travel is essential. They can tell you whether your health is stable enough to fly. If you don’t have access to a boat, it’s safer to stay on shore, where help is nearby in case of a life-threatening situation. Never take chances with your life. You should hold off on making trip arrangements if at all possible.
Suppose you and your healthcare provider are both aware of the potential dangers of flying after a stroke. In that case, you may decide whether it is appropriate for you to fly again. Some of the difficulties that may arise with air travel after a stroke include:
There is a decrease in oxygen accessible to the body, and hence the brain, due to the decreased air pressure on an airplane. It is recommended that people recovering from a stroke not spend significant amounts of time sitting in low-oxygen environments.
Patients with stroke are likely to be safe from low cabin oxygen levels during flights, but individuals with comorbidities like breathing or cardiac problems may be in danger. Once again, you should see your physician before booking a flight.
Stroke survivors may have lingering health issues that can affect their cardiovascular and respiratory systems, which can impact how well their bodies adapt to changes in cabin pressure and oxygen levels during air travel.
The reduced oxygen levels in airplane cabins, typically pressurized to simulate an altitude of around 6,000 to 8,000 feet, can pose challenges for passengers with certain health conditions, including stroke survivors. This is especially true if there are pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory issues.
Additionally, staying hydrated, moving around the cabin periodically, and performing in-seat exercises can help promote better circulation and oxygenation during the flight.
In the event that you have a stroke while in flight, the pilot may try to conduct a landing in crisis so that you may get immediate medical assistance. Urgent landings have rescued human lives in the past, but it may take longer for you to get the care you need. For this reason, many medical professionals recommend postponing air travel for a while following a stroke.
Although having a stroke on a flight is uncommon, passengers should take precautions and listen to their doctors. Now that we’ve gone through some of the dangers of flying after a stroke let’s talk about ways to minimize those risks.
Genetic and environmental factors increase the likelihood of hypercoagulability, which may lead to increased blood clotting. This raises the possibility of an ischemic stroke, which occurs when a clot blocks off a cerebral artery.
Numerous studies have shown an increased risk of getting a clot during and after plane travel. In fact, the risk of clot formation increases by nearly 26% for flights lasting more than 12 hours.
The specific reasons why travelers experience hypercoagulability or clotting while on the road are still up for dispute. The danger of blood clots rises when passengers sit for long periods since circulation slows.
One such condition is deep vein thrombosis, which manifests as a clot in a vein deep inside the leg. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot travels to the lungs and blocks an artery.
Stroke survivors may be at a higher risk of experiencing recurrent strokes, and the stressors associated with flying could trigger new symptoms or complications. Changes in cabin pressure, altitude, and dehydration during long flights can affect blood flow and increase the risk of blood clots.
Stroke patients may experience various physical limitations, such as muscle weakness, impaired coordination, or difficulty with balance and walking. Airports and airplanes often require walking long distances and navigating narrow aisles and cramped spaces.
It is important to consider your mobility needs and any necessary accommodations, such as wheelchair assistance, before booking a flight. Additionally, inform the airline about any special requirements you may have.
Some stroke survivors often experience difficulties with speech, comprehension, or expressive communication. Clear and effective communication is essential in an airport or onboard an aircraft, particularly in emergencies or when seeking assistance.
Traveling can be stressful and tiring for anyone, but it can be particularly challenging for stroke survivors. The physical and mental exertion of navigating through airports, adhering to schedules, and dealing with potential delays or disruptions can increase stress levels.
Fatigue can also impact your overall well-being and recovery. It is essential to plan your journey carefully, allowing for adequate rest periods and considering the potential impact of jet lag on your recovery.
Before traveling, review your travel insurance policy to ensure that it provides sufficient coverage for any medical emergencies or complications related to your stroke. Consider the availability of emergency medical services at your destination and assess whether they can adequately address your specific needs in case of an unforeseen event.
Traveling is thrilling and opens up incredible new possibilities but it can also be demanding and daunting. If you have suffered mobility problems or are worried about the hazards of flying, this may be particularly the case for people who have undergone a stroke.
But several things may be done to lessen the likelihood of getting a clot and the anxiety of flying. Following a stroke, you may be permitted to travel. Here are some things you can do to be safe and healthy on the flight:
Despite the fact that all stroke survivors worry about the possibility of another attack, flying is often a safe option. Your medical professional is the best person to advise you on whether you’re medically cleared to travel after a stroke. Different people may need more time to wait if they have certain risk factors or medical difficulties before they may travel.