Advice for traveling with a medical condition

Developing a chronic medical condition should not stop you from travelling and exploring new places. With the right medication it is possible to have a thoroughly enjoyable and comfortable vacation. As the population continues to live longer than ever before there is a natural rise in long-term illnesses, especially dietary disorders and disease associated with obesity, which often affects the wealthiest and most mobile part of the population.

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Traveling with common medical conditions is a relatively pain free experience today. Type 2 Diabetes is becoming one of the most common illnesses and, unlike some other conditions, the symptoms of diabetes fluctuate in response to diet and activity. Because of this it is not possible to rely on taking a specific amount of a drug at a specific time. Diabetes patients need to monitor their blood glucose levels and adjust medication in response to rising and falling levels. Exercise helps to control blood glucose by burning off excess energy, so a busy vacation with lots of walking and other activities can result in a drop in glucose levels faster than is normal

Eating patterns tend to change, and while on vacation people often eat more food than they would at home. This can have the opposite effect to exercise and will raise blood glucose levels faster than is normal for an individual. It is therefore important that diabetes patients monitor their glucose levels religiously while travelling, and have extra medication with them in case it is required. Also carrying a diabetes ID is a good idea, ideally a piece of jewelry, such as a wristband, so that medical staff will know what they are dealing with during a medical emergency.

Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is another common condition. While most people manage GERD with lifestyle changes many do also need medication. Gastroesophageal reflux is also related to heartburn and both of these conditions often get worse when travelling due to a change in diet. It is a good idea to buy generic Nexium before travelling, as it can be difficult to obtain in some countries.

Regardless of the type of medical condition that you have it is important to make an effort to continue with a healthy diet and to take regular meals. Travelling is a great time to try different foods and you may be surprised to find that some diets actually help your condition. A typical Western diet causes many problems, but a more natural and healthier diet from the Mediterranean or the Pacific Islands, for example, can help to regulate blood glucose levels.

If you have a medical condition it is vital that you remember to pack all your medicines and also a prescription in the event you require additional medicine while traveling.  Medicines often have different names in other counties so it is important that you know the details of the actual medicine you take and not just the brand name.

In addition to ensuring that you have all your medications it is also important to get your vaccinations and to buy good travel insurance. Always read the small print of your travel insurance to make sure that it will cover you for known conditions. You should find a travel insurance broker who will cover you for existing conditions and make sure that you fully declare your medical problems.

For air travel you should obtain a letter from your doctor to give permission to carry medicine on the flight. New safety rules mean that usually medication is not allowed in hand luggage. Always keep all of your medicine with you; bags do often go missing on flights, and also the freezing conditions in the hold can degrade some medications.

With good advanced planning there is no reason why you cannot have an enjoyable and incident free vacation.


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