Flying with high blood pressure: Travel tips

Posted on April 10, 2013 by Guest Writer
Mature couple flying

Having high blood pressure should not be a barrier to travelling. In fact all forms of travel should be fine if you have high blood pressure and it is well controlled, even long distance. If your high blood pressure is not controlled by medication then your GP can advise you about whether it is a good idea to travel, especially if your journey involves flying, as high altitudes can increase blood pressure.

Can you fly with high blood pressure?

Yes but you should talk to your doctor before making any travel plans, however it is likely that you’ll be okay to fly if you have high blood pressure and it is well controlled with medication.

Travelling by air can be quite stressful in itself, with queues, security to clear and tight deadlines. If you are flying, try to reduce the amount of stress that could occur at the airport by arriving in plenty of time. If you’ve got an early flight then it might be worth considering staying at an airport hotel the night before. There are plenty of hotels to suit any budget, but make sure that you book one that’s actually close to the terminal you require. Allow plenty of time to clear security and bring extra medication in your hand luggage, along with a prescription, in case tablets go missing or more are needed when abroad. Your pharmacist can advise you of international generic and brand names for UK medicine.

If you have high blood pressure you are also at a greater risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), so we’ve put together a handy graphic which shows you the easy exercises you can do while flying to help prevent DVT.

Exercises while flying to help prevent DVT_Staysure

Does flying affect blood pressure?

Yes it can. At high altitudes, even in a pressurised aircraft cabin, people with high blood pressure are at higher risk of hypoxia, when decreased oxygen in the blood can cause swelling and blood clots.

Take some snacks from home for the journey, as airlines tend to give out salty peanuts or crackers, which can increase blood pressure levels. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol and sedatives as they can make you more prone to staying in one position, or falling asleep, during the flight.

If your GP has expressed a concern about the altitude and you require an oxygen tank then these can be rented from the airline if you call in advance.

 

Tips for travelling with high blood pressure

  • Buy travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions policy to cover any high blood pressure related medical costs should you need treatment while you are away.
  • Pack your medication in your hand luggage so that it is easily accessible during travel. Remember to pack extra medicines to cover for any delays or loss
  • Bring your own food as airlines tend to provide snacks with added salt which can increase blood pressure levels
  • Avoid alcohol and any medication with a sedative effect – they can make you less active during a flight
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Carry written information on your medication and dosages, along with contact information on who to contact in the unlikely event of an emergency