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or insurer, discussion may ensue with the patient’s physicians
at home to determine if an air ambulance transfer is more ap-
propriate. This will only be done when the patient is stabilized
and can be transferred safely to a qualified cardiac physician
at a Canadian hospital.
Secondary Prevention
This refers to the preventive measures that should follow
once discharged from hospital. Two to three days following
a myocardial infarction, the patient will be discharged –
most probably having been placed on several new cardiac
medications. These often include a cardiac drug, ASA or a
similar anti-clotting drug, and possibly medication to control
cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For snowbirds, insurers
will most often allow for early recuperation and a followup
visit with the heart specialist locally, but will then expect
the patient to return home. The reason for this is that there
are often a number of followup checks that should be made
and it’s necessary to initiate a cardiac rehabilitation program
as soon as possible. This has been found to be most useful
in addressing some of the remaining risk factors that need
attention, the most common one being physical fitness. If any
complications arise, one’s home cardiologist will treat these.
All of the risk factors for a heart attack prevail following treat-
ment. In addition to the medications, strict adherence to the
lifestyle changes listed above is essential. Once a heart attack
has been diagnosed, an individual has known coronary artery
disease and remains at risk for further events in the future.
The chances of this are greatly reduced if one is diligent in
pursuing these healthy habits.
Travel health insurance policies will usually fully cover you for
the following season’s holiday, but the application may be a
little more detailed and the premiummay be a little higher.
Be sure that you do not travel outside Canada unless you are
reassured that any cardiac event will be fully covered.
Treatment for heart attacks in the last decade has provided
remarkable results in reducing resulting complications.
Modern knowledge about the high risks related to diet,
cholesterol, weight, tobacco use, hypertension and diabetes,
as well as the many benefits of regular exercise, are allowing
us to reduce our chances of having a first heart attack as well
as another one. Don’t miss the opportunities you
have to help improve and maintain your heart health!