Suffering from high blood pressure is not something to be taken lightly, but nor should it interfere with everyday activities or prevent you from enjoying a holiday trip. More than 80 million Americans have the condition and, for the vast majority, air travel is not a problem, and many enjoy regular trips abroad with no adverse reactions.
Once high blood pressure is controlled with the proper medication, flying, and travel, in general, is as safe for those with hypertension as for those without. Of course, it makes perfect sense to consult your doctor before embarking on a trip to be sure and for peace of mind. Your doctor will also advise you of any precautions you should take to avoid problems while away and ensure you have the correct amount of medications required for the duration of the trip and whether or not any vaccinations may be required.
In rare cases, the symptoms of hypertension can manifest themselves at high altitudes and more so on long distance flights. These symptoms can include shortness of breath, swelling or bloating caused by fluid retention and, in a worst case scenario, the formation of blood clots in the lower extremities. However, most of these unlikely events can be avoided by following some simple guidelines:
- Exercise. Walking and moving around the aircraft every couple of hours will significantly reduce the risk of blood clots forming.
- Avoid Salt. Salt increases fluid retention and raises the blood pressure.
- Avoid Alcohol. Alcohol can lead to swelling and is best avoided during flight.
It is also important to ensure that you are adequately hydrated and sufficiently rested before embarking on a long flight.
Happy Healthy Holiday
Exercising regularly and eating properly are important in keeping hypertension under control and being on holiday is not an excuse to ignore either. The idea of watching what you eat and taking exercise while on vacation may sound a bit off-putting but is, in fact, quite easy to do. A long and vigorous workout is not required as simple everyday activities like taking a thirty-minute sightseeing stroll will take care of the exercise. Meeting your daily exercise quota is even easier to achieve, and more enjoyable if you enjoy sporting activities or leisurely walks in the countryside. Overeating is a bigger concern as it is quite easy to “pig out” on local delicacies and drinks. By all means, one should enjoy good food and wine, but everything in moderation is the key to avoiding unwanted hypertension problems.
Nobody needs telling that holidays are supposed to be enjoyed, and this is true whether you have high blood pressure or not. Holidays and travel relieve stress and give our bodies and minds a chance to relax and revitalize themselves. Hypertension needs to be kept under control, but this is as easily done while away on holidays as it is at home and no reason not to make the most of that well-earned break from the everyday routine. So relax, take the proper precautions and enjoy a happy and healthy holiday!