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Can you fly with high blood pressure?

Millions of people fly safely with high blood pressure every year. However, there are things you should check before travelling – talk to your doctor, take your medication and travel with a blood pressure monitor – to help avoid any issues.

high blood pressure infographic

Before travelling with high blood pressure

Before you fly, consider visiting your doctor to discuss your travel plans – particularly if your blood pressure is unstable.

They will determine whether or not you should fly. This of course is an important consideration for your health, but also for your Travel Insurance – as you will need to be determined fit to travel for your policy to be valid.

If your doctor deems it unsafe for you to fly, they still may be able to recommend a better time for you to travel or for you to change your travel plans slightly.

Travel Insurance

You must remember to declare your high blood pressure as a pre-existing medical condition. There are many complications of high blood pressure – such as a blood clot – which you may not associate with the condition but that you won’t be covered for unless you declare high blood pressure. You’ll need cover from a specialist medical Travel Insurance provider.

Benefits of AllClear Cover

Gold Gold Plus Platinum
Emergency medical expenses and Repatriation costs Up to £10m Up to £15m Unlimited
Cancellation* and Curtailment Up to £2k Up to £15k Up to £25k
Travel Delay Up to £300 Up to £1,500 Up to £1,500
Recuperation stay
Personal Belongings Up to £2k Up to £2.5k Up to £3k
Personal liability Up to £2m Up to £2m Up to £2m
Legal protection cover Up to £50k Up to £50k Up to £100k
* If you buy a policy which includes cancellation cover
All these figures are per person and per trip

Simple 3 step quote process

1. Call us or click a quote button on our site

Once you are ready to start the quote process, the first step is to provide your personal details and information about your holiday plans.

2. Complete our simple medical screening process

You then declare the medical conditions for you (and any other travellers) and answer the specifically designed medical questions.

3. Get your quotes

You will then get your quotes and can either proceed to buy, or save your quote, at this stage.
High blood pressure

High blood pressure is often a condition that people don’t bother to declare, says Dr Harikrishna Patel from AllClear: “It’s often something which people get used to living with and don’t give a second thought to.”

But this is not necessarily the case: “Travelling invariably means a disruption to routine and possibly a change in time zone, so tablets may be delayed or missed altogether. Heat, physical exertion, change in diet or a tummy upset can all have an impact.

So what might be a stable medical condition at home could potentially be a problem abroad that results in a medical emergency claim.”

Medication

  • If you’re taking blood pressure medication and your journey will involve you being away from home for more than a couple of weeks, make sure you have enough medication to last the duration of your trip, including extras in case of emergency.
  • Consider also the time zone of your destination, as you may need to take your medication at a different time to normal.
  • If you will need to take medication during your flight, be sure to speak with your airline to confirm it’s allowed in your carry-on bag.
  • Bring a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor explaining your condition and treatment.

Blood Pressure Checker

If your blood pressure is unstable, it’s well worth investing in a good blood pressure monitor. That way you can keep an eye on your blood pressure while you’re on holiday, and ensure that it remains within a safe range.

High blood pressure is considered a level consistently at or above 140mmHg and/or 90mmHg.

Before you travel

Check the local weather and time zone of your destination and plan accordingly. Avoid travelling to places that are very hot, cold, or high in altitude, as they may affect your blood pressure.

Reduce stress

Take time to minimise the level of stress you are exposed to. This can be through simple things, like making sure you’re up to date with the latest travel updates from the FCDO before you travel or packing a few days in advance so you know you have everything you need.

You can also practice some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or listening to soothing music.

During the flight

If you have high blood pressure, there are a few things you can do while flying which may help.

Eating and drinking

Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and salty foods. These can dehydrate you and raise your blood pressure. Drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables instead.

Staying active

Walking around the plane as regularly as possible can aid circulation and reduce the risk of DVT. Gentle leg exercises from your seat can also help ensure you keep circulation moving throughout the flight. This activity helps reduce the risk of any blood clots, and you can also buy flight socks to help in this regard.

After you travel

Check your blood pressure again when you return home and compare it with your previous readings. If you notice any significant changes or symptoms, contact your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.

Resume your normal medication schedule and lifestyle as soon as possible. If you have made any adjustments to your medication or dosage while travelling, consult your doctor before changing them back. Also, try to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and manage your stress levels to keep your blood pressure under control.

The information in this blog post is not intended to replace professional medical advice. It is a general overview of a broad medical care topic. Blog posts are not tailored to one person’s specific medical requirements, diagnosis or treatment. If you do notice symptoms or you require medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider to obtain professional medical help. Read through our disclaimer for more information.

Written by Lydia Crispin, MA Content Creator at AllClear
Edited by Letitia Smith, M.Sc. Content Manager at AllClear

Written by: Lydia Crispin | Travel Insurance Expert
Last Updated: 23 August 2023


† Based on Trustpilot reviews of all companies in the Travel Insurance Company category that have over 70,000 reviews as of January 2024. AllClear Gold Plus achieved a Which? Best Buy.