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Is it safe to travel while recovering from a stroke ?

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Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 2565 Questions
Dear Doctor:

I am a 64 year old male in good medical condition. Last April I had a surprise stroke from which I am recovering well. There are no lasting effects now. I need to get over the psychic features of it and regain fine motor control, but I plan to return to my work as a fundrasier for a College soon. Two questions: My work involves air travel such as wonderful trips to London and San Francisco. I travel once every six weeks, on average. Is there any reason I cannot go on these journeys? Does travel increase the risk of a stroke again (there is no family history)? Second, we are planning a trip to Gstaad, Switzerland and some mountain walks (nothing above 6500 feet) next summer. Is this OK to plan as part of my 65th birthday celebration? I am currently taking 325mg of aspirin each day and 40 mg of simvistatin. Blood pressure is controlled by atenolol, ranges at about 182/80 or 82.Thank you for your help. XXXXXXX PHIFER
Posted Mon, 16 Apr 2012 in Stroke
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will try to provide you with some good information and recommendations regarding your concerns.

First of all I want to congratulate you on having a great attitude regarding recovery from your stroke. This type of attitude coupled with your energetic personality will serve you quite well. Next regarding travel there is really no contract indication to traveling overseas if you have a history of a stroke. It is important that you modify all of your risk factors which it appears that you are already doing.

Regarding risk factors. These include high cholesterol as well as high blood pressure. I am sure that your cholesterol is under good control because of the fact that you are taking a very good cholesterol medication which is well known for providing good cholesterol control. In addition it's important that you monitor your blood pressure and make sure that it is in an optimal range. This is really the only concern that I have in a patient with a history of stroke who is looking forward to travel. As long as your blood pressure is optimally control in a range of 130 or less over 90 or less . I have essentially no concerns regarding travel.

In addition regarding hiking in the mountains this again is not something that I am concerned about as long as your cardiovascular conditioning can handle it. As long as you are able to walk a relatively good to distance without becoming significantly winded this should not be a concern. I would not push yourself to the point of of pure exhaustion while you're hiking.

Again congratulations on having a great attitude regarding your history of stroke. The fact that you are determined not to let this limit your lifestyle is very admirable. I thank you again for submitting your question. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Robert
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is it safe to travel while recovering from a stroke ? 18 hours later
Dr. Galamaga:

Thank you for this reassuring response. I seem to be on the right track for controlling things. I have one other question please, and I know there is not a sure answer.

You hear all kinds of warnings about once you have had a stroke you are at significantly higher risk for another one. I know that Tomorrow is promised to no one. But, since I am doing all I can am I still at some "significantly higher risk", or do I fall into the general population statistics (with the caveat that I have had a stroke?) I guess one does not want to worry unnecessarily. Thank you again for your encouragement and counsel. XXXXXXX Phifer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 9 hours later
Hello and thank you for your follow-up question.

I completely understand your concern regarding what you might hear about patients who have had a stroke in the past. This certainly does create an elevated risk of subsequent stroke in the future but if you modify your risk factors you can significantly reduce this risk probably even close to the level of a baseline stroke risk.

I think you are doing all the right things right now including maintaining good physical activity and modifying your cholesterol and blood pressure to a level which will not be conducive to stroke.

Again I think you have an ideal attitude and encourage you to maintain this and use it to continue to give you energy for future good health and lifetime enjoyment. I again thank you for submitting your question. If you have any additional concerns I am here for you.


Dr. Robert.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is it safe to travel while recovering from a stroke ? 17 hours later
Dear Dr. Galamaga:

You are so kind and helpful that I am convinced asking one more question is OK. You understand that questions come up from time to time and sometimes not sequentially. You are providing peace of mind plus understanding. I appreciate your help very much.

So one more please. My recovery goes well and I know this is not a straight line kind of recovery. One of the symptoms I still experience is a kind of out-of-body feeling at times, a feeling that I am not totally yet in control of my legs as I walk with great strength and purpose. Some of me is saying this is how neurological disorders heal-slowly.

Some of it is saying that I am still getting over the psychic event-passing out. I am not dizzy or faint,no, no, none of that, it is that I just do not yet feel as I once did. I am just going on, working thru the feeling (which is not present all the time and does not effect my strength), and thinking that it will go away in time.
Another way of saying this is that you and I can both walk comfortably around the building; I will sense that walk differently.

So my question. Is this normal for a recovering stroke patient to feel? Do neurological wounds take some time to mend fully? Is feeling a little strange par for the proverbial course and one should simply keep building confidence? I hope I know the answers to these questions, but I think it is valuable to ask.

Thank You.

Bob Phifer
Follow-up: Is it safe to travel while recovering from a stroke ? 17 minutes later
I had one other question listed above and I hope it reaches you. Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 16 hours later

Thank you again for the follow up question.

Your question is actually a very good one. There are certainly psychological factors as well as physical factors which affect stroke recovery.

The fact that you are experiencing these episodes is not uncommon and should certainly level off and get better in the months and years to come. I would encourage you to be patient with your body as it comes to a whole new balance with how things are going. Eventually your body will continue to heal itself and function more appropriately and optimally.

You are certainly well on your way to recovery and I am always here for you if you have any additional follow up questions.

Thank you for the pleasure and privilege of discussing your medical issues.


Dr. Galamaga.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is it safe to travel while recovering from a stroke ? 4 days later
Dear Dr. Galamaga:

I want to thank you for your most recent answer which was very helpful. I was away for a few days. I think I have asked all my current questions, and I really appreciate your kindness. What I do not know is that if I have a question in ten days, can I still get in touch with you? Since you "into" my situation, I would hate to start all over.

However, you have kindly answered most of my questions. I am on the right path and will return to full-time work next week, which includes some travel. I shall also be patient as the body heals and not worry about recurrence but about compliance.

This is a really good service and your answers are clear and useful. Thank you again for your help.

Bob Phifer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 5 hours later

If in the future you have a specific question you would like to direct toward me you can email YYYY@YYYY and ask them to assign the followup to me.

All the best to you.

Thanks again for posting your query here.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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