Travellers with high blood pressure who fail to disclose the condition could find themselves in difficulty abroad without insurance cover. Our research has shown that more than a third (36%) of people do not realise that failing to declare high blood pressure could invalidate their cover if they fall ill with the condition abroad.
According to the British Heart Foundation 32% of men and 29% of women in England have high blood pressure or are being treated for the condition. But high blood pressure is often a condition that people donít think to tell their insurance company about. People can also make the mistake that they donít see High Blood Pressure as a diagnosed condition if they are taking medication to keep their blood pressure normal.
The rule is simple: If you have high blood pressure tell your travel insurance company before you travel, and donít get caught out unawares.
Tips on Travelling with High Blood Pressure
Here are some tips (thanks to the Blood Pressure Association) that could help you on your trip if you are travelling with high blood pressure.
- Avoid surprises: Suddenly developing side effects to your medication when your GP is hundreds of miles away could really spoil your holiday. Speak to your doctor about a change of medication if it is close to your holiday, as the new tablets could make you feel unwell or mean that your blood pressure is not sufficiently well controlled. Seeing your doctor a couple of months before your holiday anyway could also be a good idea.
- Medication records: Make a list of all your medications, how many you take and when and what they are for. You will need to know both the brand name of the medicine and the generic or pharmaceutical name, in the same way that a generic name would be bread and the brand name would be Hovis. Both the brand and the generic name will always be written on your pack of tablets. In some countries the brand name will be different from that in the UK. Itís a good idea to take a copy with you of the leaflet that comes in the pack with your tablets.
- Keep your pills close: It's best to carry your medicines in hand luggage so if there are problems during your travels, you won't be without them. Taking at least a week's extra supply should help you to cope with any
potential travel problems. Keeping your tablets in their travel boxes, with their labels detailing your name, the drug's name and the dosage, will avoid unmarked pills causing problems at customs.
- In some countries you will be able to buy medicines at a pharmacy if you run out or lose them. However, be aware that it may be more difficult to get hold of medicines in isolated areas or outside of main towns and cities. In some countries you may need to have a doctor's prescription. Even if medications available in other parts of the world appear to be similar to those prescribed in the UK the formulation may be slightly different so it is always best to have enough of your own tablets to last for the whole of your trip
- Adjust slowly: If you're travelling to a new time zone, you'll need to change your timing of your medicines slowly. For example, by no more than two hours per day until the time you take them falls in with local time. Then do the same in reverse when you get home. Check with your doctor or pharmacist for your own personal situation
- Avoid dehydration: If you become ill or have diarrhoea, it's important to get treated quickly, particularly if you're taking an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). Loss of fluid from the body due to illness increases the blood-pressure-lowering effect of these medicines, so you may develop low blood pressure. If it's less than 90/60, you may be advised to stop taking your pills until your blood pressure is back to its normal level.
- Holiday activities: Itís generally not advisable to use spa facilities e.g. baths, saunas, Jacuzzis or steam rooms, if you have High Blood Pressure. If you are planning on travelling to regions with high altitude your doctor may wish to adjust your medication. Blood Pressure tends to increase at higher elevation as altitude forces the heart to work harder. So consult your doctor if you have any travel plans to mountainous areas
- Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance for high blood pressure. Get a quote here