WTAP @ 5 To Your Health Report: Flying And Heart Health

By: Christi Paul
By: Christi Paul

New research finds that its OK to fly if you have heart problems, Christi Paul has more in today's Health Minute.

Does air travel put stress on the heart? According to a new guidelines drawn up by the British Cardiovascular Society, air travel had no "significant threat" to cardiovascular health.

But here's what they did find. The new recommendations published in the journal, Heart, noted the main physical impact of air travel is breathing in air with reduced oxygen. This can lower circulating oxygen levels in the blood in a pressurized environment, such as a plane.

Traditionally physicians believed that passengers already at high risk of angina, heart attack, heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms, may be adversely affected, but researchers found blood oxygen levels induced by flying "appear to have little or no adverse effects on the circulatory system, especially during short and medium-length flights.

The guidelines also noted a pacemaker does not prohibit flying, and while long flights double the risk of deep vein thrombosis, the risk is similar to that when a person is in a car, bus or train for a similar period of time.

But the report says other airport stresses, such as security measures, luggage woes, mixed-up flight schedules and the threat of terrorism could have an impact on those with heart problems.

For Today's Health Minute, I'm Christi Paul.

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