Advice for Traveling with High Blood Pressure

Traveling abroad on holiday is one of life’s great pleasures, and we all look forward to our summer vacations. People with high blood pressure may think that flying to another country is dangerous for them, but they would be wrong. As long as they have their condition under control, and plan in advance, then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t enjoy their annual holiday, just like everyone else. Here are a few things to remember for travelers with hypertension.

Talk to your doctor

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Before booking your trip consult with your doctor about the possible complications you might encounter. He or she will do a thorough check to see if you’re healthy enough to endure traveling based on your overall state. Your doctor will also give you some advice that could make your trip more comfortable, like staying hydrated in hot weather or staying away from certain activities that could impose too much strain on your heart.


If you know what sort of activities you would like to take part in on holiday, then discuss these with your doctor too. There may be some things that they don’t recommend for you, including extreme activities such as bungee jumping, sky diving, and scuba diving. If you’re in any doubt whether you should take part in something, then it’s probably safer not to.

Traveling by plane

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Some people who are suffering from hypertension are afraid of traveling by plane, but doctors agree that with the right therapy there is no reason not to fly. During and after the flight you might get a bit swelling in your ankles and hands, but those symptoms usually go away in a few hours. Other forms of traveling, by car, train, or bus, are also perfectly safe.

Change of climate

If you are traveling during the summer months, there are some things you should be aware of. Two types of medication are often prescribed for hypertension: diuretics and vasodilators.

Diuretics will work to get rid of the excess water in your body which sometimes could make you dehydrated. If you’re traveling to hot climates this can present a problem, since the heat will drain fluids from your body naturally. It is absolutely essential to drink plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages to keep your body functioning. If you’re vomiting or have diarrhea, visit a doctor who will adjust your treatment based on the current symptoms.

Vasodilators dilate blood vessels to lower blood pressure and ensure good circulation. Spending prolonged periods of time on the sun, or in hot weather in general, even in the shade, can dilate your veins even more. This could cause significant swelling around your ankles. Taking a break from the sun and elevating your legs above the heart level will reduce the swelling in a couple of hours. When you feel well again, try to keep moving during the day, like taking moderate-pace walking, or relaxed swimming to keep your blood flowing equally to every part of your body.

Medical Insurance Is A Must

Even if your condition is under control, you never know what may happen while you’re abroad, so you need to make sure you have medical insurance that will cover you, or you could be left with extremely high medical bills. Always declare that you have high blood pressure with the insurer, or it will render your insurance invalid.

Taking Your Medication While on Holiday

You should take your medication everywhere you go, especially if you’re traveling for a longer period of time. When going on vacation, or on a business trip, make sure to have double the amount, and pack them in different places in case one gets lost. Also, it would be wise to bring your prescription with you in case you need to stay longer, or you lose or run out of your meds. Any local pharmacy will issue you your medications without a problem. If you skip a day or two there is no need to panic, this is not a problem; just continue your therapy when you do get ahold of the new bottle. You can stock on your medication using online pharmacies, such as Carry it on your person while traveling, as your hold baggage may be delayed, or even go missing, and you won’t want to go through the hassle of trying to get some replacement tablets on your holiday.

Time zones

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Time zones could get you fazed about when you should take your meds next, and could mess up your schedule completely. Try to count the hours from when you last took your therapy and then take it regularly like you normally would. If adjusting time is too complicated, skip one or two dosages and start over. This shouldn’t cause you any problems at all. When returning home, apply the same technique, to get into your old schedule.

Eating out

Restaurant food, and especially fast food, are loaded with sodium which in combination with hot weather can shoot your blood pressure through the roof. If possible, always cook your own food, or at least try to prepare some meals that are going to be healthier and with less sodium. Stay away from hot dogs, burgers and other processed food, soda beverages that are full of sugar, and greasy, fatty, deep-fried meals. If unable to make your own food, stick with fresh salads, grilled meats, and fish, fresh fruits and veggies without heavy dressings and sauces. Drinking alcohol is not recommended, particularly in hot weather since it can make you dehydrated.

If you take all of the precautions mentioned above, then you will safely be able to enjoy your holiday without putting your health at risk. Most activities can be enjoyed without the risk for your health if you previously took the necessary precautions. Plan ahead for any situations that might occur, like bringing extra medications, and you should be fine. Having high blood pressure shouldn’t keep you from enjoying time with your friends and family.

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