Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

5 min read

Travelling with high blood pressure

Travelling with high blood pressure may be a little stressful, particularly if you know you’re going to be flying. However, with some careful planning and some support a traveller with high blood pressure should have no problem enjoying a holiday without a hitch.

High blood pressure travel insurance

If you are travelling with high blood pressure and your condition is controlled by medication, it can be easy to overlook the fact that you need to declare it as a pre-existing medical condition when you buy travel insurance, but it's important to remember to do this. When telling us about your high blood pressure we’ll take you through a simple medical screening process that will help us and your travel insurance provider understand your condition and help you find the right cover to suit your individual needs.

Taj Mahal

Visit your doctor prior to travel

If you are at all unsure about whether or not your high blood pressure might affect your holiday, visit your doctor before you book your trip for a quick check up and some advice. Your doctor is the best person to determine your level of health. Remember that you shouldn’t travel against your doctor's advice.

Flying with high blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure the severity of your condition, or the type of medication you are taking could affect your suitability to fly. Visit the British Heart Foundation website for more information about flying and travelling with high blood pressure.

If you are unsure whether or not you are safe to fly, visit your doctor for advice.

Medication

If you have started taking medication for high blood pressure in the last three months, your doctor might advise you not to travel. If you do get the green light to travel then make sure you have enough mediation to last you the duration of your holiday, and maybe a little extra in case there are any delays. It’s also a good idea to take a letter from your Doctor about your medication, especially if you’re carrying it in your hand luggage on the plane.

If you are planning on travelling for a prolonged period, you might want to consider taking a blood pressure monitor with you so that you can keep an eye on your condition and keep track of any changes. It’s a good idea to chat to your Doctor about this, to find out where to get them.

Hut on the Himalayas

Adventurous activities

Scuba diving is great fun, but because of the change in pressure it could be dangerous to your health if you suffer from high blood pressure. Get checked out by a diving medical specialist before you decide to go diving. But don’t worry, snorkelling is perfectly safe for people with high blood pressure to a depth of three metres.

Any adventurous activities that create sudden changes in pressure or speed (such as paragliding or parachuting) can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure. You should have a chat with your doctor before taking part in any adventurous activities.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, MBE

Dr Sarah Jarvis’s Top Tips

Sarah is the Clinical Director of the Patient Platform, an active medical writer, broadcaster, and is the resident doctor for BBC Radio 2.

Having high blood pressure shouldn’t stop you travelling (including by air) or enjoying a holiday if it’s controlled. However, you should speak to your doctor before you book if your blood pressure readings have been very high or unstable.

Here are some of my top tips for travelling safely if you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure:

  1. If your blood pressure is well controlled, you don’t necessarily need a blood pressure check just before you travel. However if your most recent readings have been raised, or you haven’t had a blood pressure check for over six months, see your GP or practice nurse for a reading before you travel.
  2. While you’re flying, avoid alcohol, keep hydrated with non-alcoholic fluids and move around the cabin regularly.
  3. Alcohol and exotic foods may feel like they’re an integral part of being on holiday, but remember that both alcohol and salty foods can raise your blood pressure.
  4. Some blood pressure medicines are diuretics – they get rid of excess fluid, bringing your blood pressure down, but these medications may make you more prone to dehydration if you’re in a very hot country or have diarrhoea and/or vomiting. Your pharmacist can advise how your blood pressure tablets work.
  5. Most people with high blood pressure can use saunas and hot tubs safely. However, they can cause your blood pressure to drop as blood vessels on your skin dilate to cool you down. So, look out for signs of low blood pressure, such as feeling light-headed, dizzy or faint.

If you’d like to read more of Dr Jarvis’s tips, then check out our travel insurance for high blood pressure page here.

Travelling with high blood pressure

So all in all, if you are unsure how your high blood pressure will affect your ability to travel seek your doctor's advice and declare your high blood pressure when you buy travel insurance.

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