Can You Go Hiking With a Pacemaker?

Pacemaker for Hikers

All thanks to technology, pacemakers play a great role in managing patients with some cardiovascular disorders/diseases. It helps to relieve some of the symptoms like fainting, short breath, and dizziness. It makes you feel better and is a proven prevention of arrhythmias. As technology is becoming more advanced, new pacemakers are now wireless. They are implanted through the femoral vein of the leg using a catheter.

Hiking, although not a strenuous exercise but can increase your blood flood and fasten the overall cardiac activities. If you are a fan of hiking and you just got a pacemaker implanted, you might be left with the taught of whether it will allow you to keep enjoying your hiking or not.

The only thing to worry about after your implantation surgery is your recovery. After you have fully recovered, your pacemakers will not hinder any of your normal day-to-day activities. You will get going with your normal life as though nothing happened. 

Can You Go Hiking With a Pacemaker?

Yes, you can hike with a pacemaker. A pacemaker is out in place to improve the well-being of your heart. For as long as you have recovered from the implant surgery then you can go hiking

There are different types of pacemakers, and for as long as you have recovered and your device is working well then you can go back to doing your normal activities.

Hiking is more of a slow walk up a hilltop. Having a pacemaker won’t hinder you from going for that hiking and having to catch the sunset of that view you have been dreaming of. Hiking is a form of mild exercise because it doesn’t require much energy. After your recovery from a pacemaker implant, you will have to start hiking a short distance and then monitor how your body and your device will react to it. In a situation where it does then you can stop going for hikes because even though having a pacemaker won’t stop you from hiking, our bodies respond to things differently.

If there is no unwanted reaction, then you are good to go. You can continue by increasing the distance bit by bit until you can hike the normal distance you are used to or even more. By so doing you are not introducing your pacemaker to something new at once. You are allowing it time to adapt slowly.

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What Are The Signs You Need a Pacemaker?

You or anyone can not rule out and conclude that you need a pacemaker. You have to visit a healthcare provider, he/she is the only one in the right place to recommend a pacemaker implant as treatment. Below are some of the symptoms you can inform your doctor about:

  1. Angina ( a type of chest pain that is severe and is related to having a heart condition)
  2. An unusual fast heartbeat, medically known as tachycardia. An individual is said to have tachycardia when the heart beats at 100 beats per minute.
  3. Bradycardia is the opposite of tachycardia. It is the unusual slow heartbeat usually below 60 beats per minute.
  4. Irregular heartbeats. It can be either added beats or skipping some beats.
  5. Heart palpitations
  6. Unexplained lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  7. Shortness of breath.
  8. Frequent unusual urinating.
  9. Swellings of some parts of the body e.g legs, hand, and abdomen

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What Are The Things to Avoid When Using a Pacemaker?

After your surgery, you need to take care of yourself to recover fully and also avoid certain things and activities to avoid complications. Below are some of the things to avoid doing when you have a pacemaker.

  • Avoid drinking coffee: During the process of healing, it is advisable to avoid coffee because pacemakers are implanted in the chest and you can experience swelling at the site. Any activity that will stretch and strain you should be highly avoided.
  • Take your medications religiously: The pacemaker will help a great deal in keeping your heart and its activities on track but the taking of your drugs should not be taken lightly. You should take your drugs at the right time as described by your doctor to help with your heart and overall body health. With modern-day technology, some pacemakers are programmed according to your drug prescription, so taking your doses is very important. Keeping a record of your medications is very important as this will help fast track any new changes or symptoms if any arise.
  • Avoid wearing things that will make the site of your implant uncomfortable. A pacemaker implant is as small as a matchbox and is usually done a little below your collarbone. Some garments or gears can rub the site of an incision, thereby making it uncomfortable. Some of these include seatbelts, bras, or straps of your backpack. Avoid any tough contact that can damage your device and adding padding to the site when wearing any cloth that can rub against your device will help a lot. 
  • Avoid hanging around metal detectors: There is a chance of your device getting damaged as a result of some scanning. The electromagnetic field they will create can affect your device if there is a long exposure. Avoid staying close to any scanning equipment. When travelling, a hand scan from security should be as brief as possible. You can notify the security that you have a pacemaker so they can make the screening swift.
  • Avoid electric power lines:  Getting close to a high-voltage power can alter the electrical activities of your device. Avoid any exposure to an electric welder, electric generators, radio and television transmissions, and microwaves.
  • Do not miss your regular check-ups: Implanting a pacemaker is not the end of everything. You need to go for regular check-ups to help monitor the activities of your pacemaker closely. Do not miss those appointments with your doctor a few weeks and months post-surgery. This appointment gives you room to complain about any issues you have, and for your doctor to check and see if everything is working perfectly. After the first few months, you might only get to see your doctor less often. In those check-up sessions, you will get to draft a plan on how to communicate with your doctor, even if it means sending him data via WhatsApp or SMS.

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Having a pacemaker implant, irrespective of what type it is, you have to be aware of your health, and changes in your body and constantly go for checkups or visit your doctor. Technology has done so much good when you think of a pacemaker. It helps you improve the electrical activity of the heart.

Having a pacemaker implant does not mean you cannot carry out your daily activities. You can have a pacemaker and live for years with it without any side effects or having to stop doing any of the things you love doing. Having a pacemaker cannot stop you from hiking. You only need to monitor how your body reacts when you hike if you just got a pacemaker implant.

You can go to these historical sites, and go on those hikes with your family or friends but just make sure you take your medications and follow your healthcare provider.

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Written by Jane Miller

I'm Nomadic Jane, a digital nomad and travel blogger. Since 2009, I've been traveling the world and exploring cultures through my travel blog.