Can I fly on a plane if I have high blood pressure?
People with controlled high blood pressure should not worry about flying. On the other hand, if you have high blood pressure and are not taking medications to control it, then it is strongly recommended to consult with a doctor before flying.
Flying on an airplane can be stressful for any person - the queues, security checks and the various rules and regulations which must be adhered. It is good to reduce the stress level by coming to the airport early leaving ample time for easy check in and flight. Always carry your medicines along with prescriptions in your cabin luggage.
How flying can affect your blood pressure?
At high altitudes – even in a pressurised aircraft cabin – the oxygen is diluted. That leads to swelling and forming of blood clots, which may increase the risk of hypoxia in people with high blood pressure.
As airplane food is often salty, it might result in increase of blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, it is advisable to take a sandwich or some other light home cooked meal. It is recommended to avoid alcohol and sedatives as this can make you sleepy and prone to stay in one position during the flight.
If your doctor has some concerns about the high altitude you can request to rent an oxygen tank from the airplane company. It is important to call them in advance so they can provide you with one. People with high blood pressure are in higher risk to develop deep vein thrombosis. In order to lower the risk you can do the following two things: check your blood pressure level with a blood pressure device and during the flight do some light feet, head and shoulder exercises.