PAF highs and lows on holiday : Any advice... - AF Association

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PAF highs and lows on holiday


Any advice please? I’ve just returned from holiday and missed a life long wish to see the Great Wall. I walked about a mile up a fairly steep incline in 30 degrees to the cable car where a notice said anyone with heart disease, high blood pressure or insanity shouldn’t travel. I felt I had all three at that point! Google says height was 900m. I didn’t go but wzonder would that really have caused me problems?

I then went to a cave with a similar notice, ignored it and went down . I don’t know if it was then a panic attack (not something I usually get) or I really couldn’t breathe! I did get out unaided!

Anyone know if it’s really that inadviseable for my future travels? Thanks in advance.

7 Replies

Morning Tracy, one of our members on here Beancounter does a lot of that type of travelling. I've given him a nudge. He may be able to give you some good advice.

Best wishes



As I’m sure you know Tracy, the higher you go, the thinner the air so given that folk with AF have a ticker that isn’t functioning at 100%, need we say more! It shouldn’t stop holidays though......

Triggers for me are altitude - +3000m. Dehydration - biggy! Temperature - over 27-28C, or less than 0C. Walking up inclines. Just physically doing more than I know I should.

I’ve had this condition + a few, for over 10 years and it has taken me a long time to gauge what I can and can’t do and of course it tends to be a moving feast as I age.

Nothing has stopped me travelling but I no longer scuba (great fan), sail across oceans - don’t have the energy - or ski. Apart from those activities I do pretty much what I used to do. Last year we went on a cruise (our first) with a marine biology interest to Iceland and got close & personal to humpback whales breaching in a small boat, climbed (very slowly) a small hill, walked down the continental divide and did a load of other touristy type things and loved it. I have had several AF episodes in the course of my travels but just rested until they passed and carried on.

I still swim, do yoga & Pilates when I can. It’s just a matter of listening to your body and knowing when limits are reached and being able to keep calm and rest and one of the other biggies - ask for help when I need it.

Best wishes & happy travelling.

cbsrbpm in reply to CDreamer

I really wish I could identify triggers as I have done and consumed things that really should trigger it and I have done absolutely nothing at all and been very rested and off it goes, normally while asleep. This could be something to do with my HR sometimes dropping very low during the night as identified on holter monitor although I am fairly sure I don’t have sleep apnea. Tracy, I have no advice re travel as I don’t do much of this but I think you have to live your life as you want and not as AF wants to. Best wishes.


CDreamer in reply to cbsrbpm

Hi Brenda - have you ever had a sleep test?

Thanks for replies. They are sensible even though I don’t always want to be! I still think it was overly cautious to deter me from the cable car!


Hi Tracy

900 m would have been unlikely to cause you any problems with the AF, it's not really high enough, there are roads in the UK which are at over 800m in the Pennines, and whilst it's high it's not usually enough to trigger any AF challenges.

You said also high blood pressure, that might be more of the challenge, and it depends on the severity of your condition to be honest.

But as Jean says, I travel widely and only recently have had to take Machu Picchu off the bucket list, as it's not that bad at 2,430m they say altitude sickness begins at 2,500 which is too close for comfort.

But always travel to how you feel, not to allay fears, you will always have fears but carefully rationalise them, evaluate the risks and then do what you want to do. AF shoud not really stop you travelling and enjoying your holidays if you take care. I did China by train for 3 weeks a couple of years ago, I've come down a volcano with white water rafting, (New Year's day 2016) and I travel alone and to non touristy places regularly and I am in persistent AF 24/7.

I'm sure you been told this before, but don't let AF rule your life, conquer and overcome it and do what you want to do with the years you have left.

Be well


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