Blood Pressure And Flying
Are you taking blood pressure medication? Are you worried about flying? Well then the news is good. If you have high blood pressure that is controlled by medications, flying is just as safe for you as any of the other passengers on board. There is no evidence that any prescription medication for hypertension will affect your health when flying. Airplane cabins are pressurized so a passenger with high blood pressure is in no danger from a health view point.
The things to consider when flying with high blood pressure problems are more along the lines of developing a sudden medical problem while 40,000 feet above the ground but hey - anyone can suddenly have a heart attack or asthma attack without warning so blood pressure and flying should not be a reason to keep anyone grounded.
But if you have problems with hypertension and if your BP is not being properly controlled by medication, then its best not to fly until your doctor gives the go ahead. This is not because flying will increase your blood pressure but more because of the potential stress factors that await all travelers. Just think: delayed flights, long security lines, missing your connection, hassles at customs, the outrageous price for a bottle of water, the kicking screaming child in the seat behind yours - the list goes on and on. All of these can cause stress and stress, of course, will increase your blood pressure!
Deep Vein Thrombosis and Flying
DVT or deep vein thrombosis is more of an issue for people with high BP while flying. DVT is a blood clot that develops in the legs. People who experience DVT as a result of flying are more likely to have traveled a long distance and travel frequently. They do not necessary have to have a preexisting condition such as hypertension but if you do have higher blood pressure than normal then you might be more at risk.
If you develop a DVT then the treatment is bed rest with the leg elevated above their heart. Anticoagulants will be prescribed to thin the blood clot as well as clot dissolving medications. The blood clot should be gone with in 48 hours after receiving the medication. In the event that a complication arises such as an embolism (a piece of the clot that breaks away from the thrombus and travels through the body) then surgery will be required to save the patients life. The main concern with the embolus is that it reaches the lungs and becomes a pulmonary embolism - this can be fatal if treatment is not aggressively and promptly delivered.
The best way to avoid a DVT while flying is to walk up and down the aisle of the plane every half an hour or so. You might also want to buy some flight socks to improve your circulation and stop the blood getting static in the veins.
Just because you suffer from high blood pressure does not mean you have to stop doing the things you enjoy. Take it one step at a time and get your BP under control with medication, change your diet and start exercising; eventually, you may be able to eliminate the medication if you stick to your lifestyle changes. In the meantime, do all that you can to try and remove stress from your life and take the time to enjoy life!
Gordon Cameron is a physician in Edinburgh Scotland. He has a special interest in how to lower blood pressure . You can also read about the medical and health issues associated with low blood pressure or hypotension - a topic for which it can be hard to find good quality advice and information.