High Blood Pressure & Flying

What should someone being treated for high blood pressure know about flying? Here is how to travel via plane without your condition becoming a concern.

High blood pressure & flying: what you need to know

Flying with high blood pressure should not be a significant problem. For most people being treated for blood pressure issues, any form of travel (especially by plane) is an activity that requires a little foresight and preventative planning.

When flying, someone is looking to ensure their blood pressure remains stable and well controlled, and the risk of hypoxaemia – a lack of oxygen in the blood – is low. The main method to accomplish this is to ensure that any prescribed medications to control high blood pressure are brought in sufficient supply during periods of travel. Here are some other factors to know and consider when flying with high blood pressure.

Does blood pressure change when flying?

Yes. When anyone flies, blood pressure goes up ever so slightly as planes have a lower concentration of oxygen. When someone has high blood pressure, the onset of hypoxaemia can become an issue.

Most people with high blood pressure should not have any issues when flying, but it is essential to take care and know what steps to take to ensure pressure stays low.

There is also a higher risk of deep-vein thrombosis when flying, due to long periods of immobility and dehydration that occur on long-haul flights. That is why people will sometimes wear compression clothing when flying long distances.

How can I keep blood pressure down when flying?

Movement and activity help a lot. Moving your shoulders and feet around help with your circulation without having to leave your seat. If you can, you should stand up and walk around the plane every now and then. This will promote blood circulation, avoiding deep-vein thrombosis. 

Someone with high blood pressure may also want to bring some healthy snacks on their flight. Biscuits, crisps, pretzels, and nuts are commonly served as snacks on a flight; all of which have a high salt content. Salt can raise blood pressure.

Also, make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Keep your blood pressure medicine secure

If you need to take medicine regularly, pack it with your hand luggage and not in your checked bag. It is a simple failsafe on the very slim chance your bag is misplaced in transit.

Also, make sure you have photographs of your medicine type or have names written down, just in case you need to visit a pharmacy on holiday. To prevent this, ensure you bring extra medication on the off-chance there are delays on your journey back home.

Talk to your doctor

When you know you are going to be travelling, you need to talk with your doctor about what precautions to take. You may need to ensure you have enough medicine for your trip.

Check your insurance

Travel insurance can vary, so make sure you have insurance which states it will cover pre-existing conditions, as that is what blood pressure issues are considered as by many providers.

Get in touch

OneWelbeck Heart Health helps patients with conditions including all cardiac conditions, risk factors and screening, including matters related to treating and controlling high blood pressure.

If you would like to meet with a cardiologist to discuss blood pressure problems, you can get in touch with the clinic here. Leave a message regarding your issue, and we will get back to you to discuss options.