Millions of people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure. They lead normal lives, yet there are certain aspects of life that the condition can make a little more complicated. Travel can, unfortunately, be one of them. But there is no reason to fear if you love to travel and have a raised level of blood pressure. There are sensible precautions you can take, and there are exercises you can do to help, as well as certain activities you should probably avoid. Follow a few guidelines, and your blood pressure need not impact on your travel.
Flying is by far the most common form of long-distance travel these days, and with so many people in the world suffering from blood pressure issues, research needed to be done on how best to deal with long-haul flights and blood pressure concerns. At high altitudes, conditions such as hypoxia can be worsened – meaning people with a higher blood pressure might have less oxygen in their blood. On flights longer than 2 hours, this could in the worst case scenario lead to a blood clot, or swelling and bloating leading to kidney damage. However, there are things you can do to lessen the risks.
Perhaps the most important thing to do on a flight is to make sure that you do not sit still for the entire length of the journey. As long as it is possible, get up and move around the cabin every hour or so. Exercising and moving even a little will reduce the risk of clotting. Moving your ankles and feet in circular motions can also aid in loosening up your joints – which might stiffen up over the flight. Doing the same with your shoulders and head can also be beneficial.
Making sure you are prepared for your flight is another sensible course of action. First and perhaps foremost is to ensure that you reduce all the risks of stress in your flight. While this is not always possible, anything within your power, such as limiting the potential for lateness and preparing any of the medicines you might need is a useful precaution. Also, ensure you visit your doctor before travelling if you are worried about your condition. Getting checked up is, at least, a sure-fire way to lessen any concerns you might have. Finally, make sure your travel insurance covers pre-existing conditions. Not all insurers do, so check before you purchase.
Once you have reached your destination, and your flight is over, it is easy to assume that the risk of exacerbating your high blood pressure is over. This is partly true. While flying is somewhat of a risk for those with raised blood pressure, strenuous activities can also be a risk. Try to avoid the sort of activities that can result in quick changes of pressure, such as diving, or those which can lead to sudden changes in speed, such as parachuting. These kinds of adventurous activities can risk worsening blood pressure issues. If you are determined to do one of these activities on your trip, consider asking a health professional about the risks first.
Thinking about your blood pressure doesn’t have to dominate your trip. As long as you plan sensibly, and prepare properly, there is no reason why blood pressure should affect your travel at all.