Travelling with high blood pressure
As with many chronic health conditions, high blood pressure can make planning a holiday more stressful than normal; especially for an activity that’s supposed to be relaxing in the first place. However, with the correct preparation, you can still have an enjoyable and fun time on your holidays even if you have hypertension.
Take a look at the travel tips that we have gathered below, to ensure that you get the most out of your holiday.
Check with your GP
- Before you do anything else, it’s crucial to understand the effect that travelling abroad may have on your high blood pressure, and no one is better suited to inform you of how to best manage your particular case of hypertension, than your GP.
- A pre-holiday consultation with your GP will be able to refresh your knowledge of any triggers to your hypertension, allowing you to take the appropriate precautions, even when out of your normal comfort zone.
- Your GP may also be able to recommend a change in medication to better suit the climate that you are travelling to, or the seasonal weather you are expecting at your destination; particularly extreme heat or cold may necessitate stronger medication, or greater care on your part.
Establish your medication requirements
- A few useful tips to keep in mind when travelling abroad with any kind of medication; always carry more than you need, and ensure that your supply is spread across the different luggage that you’re taking. This way, if a piece of luggage goes missing, you can be sure that you have access to at least enough medication to get by.
- On the same tangent, it’s also a good idea to carry a spare prescription with you, or a copy thereof; so that if some of your medication goes missing, or it turns out that you need more than you originally thought you required, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
- Bear in mind that you’ll most likely be entering a different time zone when you travel abroad, which means that you’ll need to adjust when you take your medication; your usual routines will need to be revised to accommodate this change. It’s definitely worth consulting your GP about this, to ensure that you won’t be without medication for a prolonged period of time, at any stage of your holiday.
- Make sure that you understand the requirements and limitations of the country you intend to travel to; ensuring that you acquire any necessary permits long before your departure date. At the same time, bear in mind that medication may only be available under different names, or in different quantities when abroad; so be sure to do the research before you leave.
- Airlines will also often have restrictions on how much medication can be freely transported on their service; so make sure you check their regulations, and enquire personally if there are still uncertainties that you feel need clearing up. The medication that you are taking with you on holiday may be illegal in the country that you intend to visit, so it’s also a good idea to carry a GP’s letter, to identify the medication and make it clear to authorities as to why you need to take it.
Understand how travelling will affect your condition
- If you suffer from high blood pressure, you have will most likely have a higher susceptibility to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) when travelling by plane. This makes it doubly important for you to try and stay mobile during the flight, and to stay properly hydrated. Not doing so further increases the odds of developing DVT. (Source: http://www.patient.co.uk/blogs/sarah-says/deep-vein-thrombosis-more-than-just-a-pain-in-the-leg, http://www.webmd.com/dvt/deep-vein-thrombosis-complications)
- Only consume low salt food during flights; the snack food served on planes are especially high in salt, so avoid them if possible. Bring some low salt snacks on-board if need be, to reduce the risk of trouble occurring.
- To reduce the risk of DVT during the flight, request an aisle seat, or a seat in front of an emergency exit. This will allow you to move frequently, either by stretching, or walking up and down the aisle; helping your circulation.
- Your GP may suggest that you use an oxygen tank for the duration of the flight. Whether you rent one from the airline, or bring your own, it’s important to phone the airline ahead of time. This way, you can work out what regulations they may have, and what action you will have to take to secure an oxygen supply.
Plan your itinerary accordingly
- As with plane travel, it’s important to avoid dehydration while on the holiday itself, whether this is caused solely by temperature, over exertion, intake of certain foods and drinks, or a combination of some or all of the above.
- It may sound obvious, but it’s also important to avoid any of the everyday hypertension triggers that you may have; whether its stress, lack of sleep, bad diet, lack of exercise, forgetting to take your medication, or any others. It’s essential that you continue to counter the effects of these triggers, and maintain a stable, relaxed lifestyle while on your holiday.