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Flying With High Blood Pressure

If your high blood pressure or hypertension is under control, it shouldn’t prevent you from flying or traveling. 

But you should still take precautions to prevent hypertension from occurring and maintain good health when on a trip.

Here are some tips on how to fly safely with high blood pressure.

How flying can affect your blood pressure 

Flying in an airplane can dry your skin, make various parts of your body feel weird or different and zap your energy. That is because oxygen, temperature, and pressure in the cabin fluctuate. The humidity level is also lower than it is at sea level. 

Lower levels of oxygen is what results in high blood pressure. That doesn’t mean you cannot fly, it just means you must take precautions to lower your risk. 

So before your trip, make sure you get a check-up. Discuss any health concerns and ensure that you’re fit to travel.

Safety tips when flying

#1 – Plan ahead 

Stress and anxiety are among the leading causes of hypertension. Try to avoid any situation that may result in unwanted stress and anxiety by planning ahead. Avoiding short hectic trips, choosing your travel companion well, and giving yourself adequate time to avoid being late can also help lower stress.

#2 – Pack your medication in your carry-on

If you’re taking blood pressure medication, ensure that you have enough medication to last the duration of your travel – normally enough for your trip and an extra week. 

Also, consider storing your BP medication in your carry-on and not your check-in luggage (if your case is stolen or lost, you will lose it). 

#3 – Carry blood pressure monitor

Carry a small digital BP monitor with you so that you can check your blood pressure regularly. A monitor will also be of great help if you fall ill. 

For instance, dehydration can set in fast if you get traveler’s diarrhea, affecting your blood pressure. So keeping note of it can definitely alert you to take preventive measures.

#4 – Avoid salty foods

It’s often hard to stay on a diet while traveling. But try to avoid salty foods or snacking on processed packets of foods, these tend to have a high quantity of sodium which has been shown to increase blood pressure levels.

#5 – Stay hydrated 

If you’re traveling during hot days or to tropical states, you need to stay hydrated. Warm weather can easily result in swelling in the ankles or edema since a class of BP medications known as diuretics causes loss of fluids from your body.

If you’re on diuretics, the medication can behave a bit differently in warm climate conditions. Also, opt for coconut water, fresh juices, bottled water, etc., and avoid alcohol. 

#6 – Avoid high adrenaline activities

Avoid activities that raise your body’s adrenaline, causing a sudden drop in pressure like scuba-diving, sky-diving, or bungee-jumping. Instead, go for less intensive activities like sailing, skiing, and hiking only if your doctor has given you the go-ahead.

#7 – Purchase travel health insurance

Buying travel health insurance is an excellent way to deal with any unforeseen injuries, health scares, acute infections, and more. Ensure that you know the emergency numbers 

of your destination and know where the nearest hospital is located.

The bottom line 

Having hypertension shouldn’t stop you from flying. Below are flying do’s and don’ts.

Do’s

  • If it’s a long trip, consider breaking it by staying overnight at the transit location.
  • Drink plenty of water 
  • Don’t just sit since moving around will lower the risk of clots and swelling in the legs.
  • Leave for the airport early in order to account for check-in formalities, road traffic, immigration check queues, or extended security.

Don’ts

  • Avoid alcohol 
  • Cross your legs since it can lower blood circulation, increasing the risk of clots.
  • Have drugs with a sedative effect.

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