National Heart Month: Driving with a Heart Condition
February is National Heart Month, a full month of fundraising to support the life-saving work of the British Heart Foundation; from wearing red to art installations – there’s something going on all month for this great cause. Heart conditions can be life-threatening, but many people continue to live normal lives after their diagnosis. However, living with a heart condition does require adjustment to day-to-day tasks to prevent exhaustion and further deterioration.
The type of heart condition and treatment affects whether you will be able to go back to driving, but for the most part those suffering with heart problems will be able to go back to driving. Both your GP and the DVLA will be able to advise on your fitness to drive based on your specific conditions. A rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t drive if you are suffering from a medical condition which might cause you to suddenly lose control while you are driving; this includes episodes of dizziness, fainting or black outs.
If you have a heart problem or surgery, you will often need to take a break from driving. You should not drive for at least four weeks after a heart attack, or after a coronary artery bypass. You may need to inform the DVLA of your medical condition or a change in your health; you can find out the requirements by visiting the Directgov website or contacting the DVLA. A medical questionnaire will need to be submitted to the DVLA if you do need to tell them, but this is not necessary for all people with heart conditions. However, you should always let your car insurance know about your heart condition, or any other major changes in your health; otherwise, you risk your car insurance being invalid in the event of an incident.