If you have been diagnosed with higher blood pressure than usual, you might wonder if that might interfere with your travel plans, now and in the future.
The good news is that you don’t have to give up your love for travel as long as the hypertension is controlled. This article explores some tips you need to remember when traveling.
Tips To Remember For People With Hypertension During Travel
1. Get a Pre-travel Checkup
A pre-travel checkup is a medical examination you go for ahead of your trip. It helps to talk to a general practitioner you pack and leave. Click here for an x-ray, which is usually an important part of the checkup. The doctor will also check your blood pressure and advice on whether you can fly or not.
If the doctor advises against flying, you might need to change your travel plans or pick an alternative mode of transport. The pre-travel checkup is also the perfect time to ask your doctor any questions about traveling with hypertension.
Talking to your doctor about the activities you’ll participate in during the trip is also essential. They might disapprove of high adrenaline activities like skydiving and bungee jumping since they can raise your body’s adrenaline. However, if you are physically fit, the doctor can clear you for less intensive activities, such as skiing and hiking.
2. Plan Ahead
Although stress itself does not cause hypertension, it can lead to the release of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) into the blood. These hormones can make your heart beat faster as it prepares for a fight-or-flight response.
Consequently, the blood vessels constrict, and the blood pressure goes up. That’s why preventing stress before and during your trip is essential.
One of the most effective ways to prevent stress is by planning. The first thing you need to do is pick your destination. If you are traveling for work, that part might be decided for you. So, once you know where you are going, find out as much as possible about the city.
That will help you create a functional packing list. You also need to know the duration of your trip. Then you can go ahead and book travel tickets and accommodation. It is also a good idea to plan what you will do daily. But ensure that you leave an allowance for change of plans.
Finally, put your packing list together, and you are all set. And most importantly, choose your travel companions well.
3. Carry a BP Monitor
Thanks to advancements in the medical field, you can monitor your blood pressure while on the go without any assistance. You can reduce the chances of sudden health complications by monitoring your blood pressure from time to time.
You might need to talk to your doctor about using the BP monitor correctly. The doctor will give you a checklist with notes like:
- Do not talk when measuring your blood pressure
- Ensure that the cuff is snug and against bare skin
- Sit comfortably with your back supported for at least 5 minutes
- Empty your bladder before the reading
A blood pressure monitor is a medical device, so you can have it in your carry-on bag without getting in trouble with the authorities.
4. Pack Extra Medications
It is always a brilliant idea to pack extra medications in case you have to extend your trip. While packing, ensure that the medicine goes into your hand luggage for easy access.
Packing it in hand luggage also minimizes the chances of the medicine getting lost in the suitcase. We also strongly advise that you split the medication into two pouches.
In case one gets lost, you will have a backup. Additionally, bring your prescription with you in case you need more medicine.
5. Buy Travel Health Insurance
If you plan on traveling abroad, getting travel health insurance is a good idea. Even if your doctor cleared you for traveling, that doesn’t guarantee a smooth sail throughout the trip – and you want to be prepared.
The insurance will cover bills like ambulance services, drugs and medications, and lab tests.
Notably, you can get a single-trip or multi-trip cover – depending on how frequently you travel. If you are not a chronic traveler, a single-trip cover will work for you. Ideally, it begins when you leave your home and ends when you return.
For instance, the insurance cover will be valid for four weeks if your trip is four weeks long. On the other hand, multi-trip coverage covers you for a calendar year. It will be ideal if you make multiple trips in a year.
6. Watch What You Eat
Staying on a diet is among the hardest things to do when traveling. Sometimes you don’t control what is served or want a break from your usual diet—but eating healthy while traveling doesn’t have to be impossible.
One of the easiest ways to stick to your dietary plan is by packing your snacks. They come in handy, especially on the plane. You don’t have to worry about snacks containing too much salt.
Once you get to your destination, you can consider cooking your meals. But if that doesn’t appeal to you, you can research restaurants that offer suitable choices.
It also helps to prepare a meal plan ahead of your trip so that you don’t wait too long between meals. Most importantly, ensure that you stay hydrated throughout your journey – especially when you are out in the heat.
7. Avoid Hot Tubs and Saunas
Everyone would love to soak their cares away in a hot tub or spend some time in the sauna. But you might be wondering whether that is safe for someone with hypertension.
You would have to be extremely cautious since overexposure to heat could dilate your blood vessels, which lowers the blood pressure. The heart would have to work extra hard to make up the difference.
Besides, hot tubs and saunas may interact with your hypertension medication. For instance, diuretics cause loss of fluid.
Going into a hot tub or sauna only makes you lose more fluid, increasing dehydration chances. But despite the potential risks, you can still enjoy some time in a hot tub or sauna as long as you follow your doctor’s precautions.
These might include staying off the alcohol before or while in the hot tub or sauna and not exceeding 15 minutes per session.
Speaking of alcohol, it’s important to remember that too much of it can raise your blood pressure. Therefore, be sure to limit your intake even outside the sauna or hot tub. Ensure that you don’t have more than three drinks in one sitting.
8. Don’t Forget the Small Things
It is common to plan for everything else while forgetting the obvious things. Gentle reminder: put on comfortable and loose-fitting clothes, so that blood circulation is not interfered with. It is also essential to apply pressure on your ears to equalize air. You can also keep chewing gum to prevent discomfort.
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