Taking a vacation or travelling for work? Some people may enjoy the travel, while others may find it too taxing. Either way, it can be difficult to adjust to new surroundings. If you have high or fluctuating blood pressure, managing it while travelling can be difficult, even before you have to deal with the post-trip blues.
Here are some tips and precautions to better manage your blood pressure, so that you can have a hassle-free trip:
- Have a word with your doctor: It is essential that you speak with your physician before you plan any trips. Let them know all the details about your travel plans. If you are planning to travel across time zones, it becomes crucial that you adjust the medication schedule. Your doctor will suggest how to maintain your sleep routines and avoid jet lag if it affects your medication schedule.
- Take enough medicines: If you are taking a long trip or vacation, make sure that you don’t run out of medication. Even if you are going to the best of cities, the exact same medication as yours may not be available there.
- Pack your medication well: When we say well, we mean to say pack it such that it is easily and always accessible to you. You might need to take your medication often, and your luggage may not always be at hand. It’s best to keep your medication in your carry-on bag.
- Try to stay calm: Crowded railways stations and long lines at the airport tend to cause frustration. In such a situation, your blood pressure might escalate. Remember to stay as calm as you can in such circumstances. The best way is to plan ahead of time to avoid rushing at the last minute. You could even speak to the airlines about providing special assistance to help you out.
- Try to get some stretching done: Waiting for the aeroplane or the train to arrive can get quite dull. You can utilise this time by preparing yourself for travel. Stretch out your arms and legs a little bit while sitting in one place. Just moving your feet and doing some easy foot exercises can also help relieve the swelling in your ankles. Try to walk in the aisle during the flight, if possible, especially if it is a long one.
- Monitor your blood pressure: Ask your physician to suggest a handy blood pressure monitoring device that you can use during travel. Changes in your schedule and a hectic travel plan can lead to fluctuations in blood pressure. It is always best to monitor your hypertension and take the right medications before things go wrong.
- Pack your own snacks: Snacks available in-flight or at the airport outlets can be high in salt content. People with hypertension are advised to keep their salt intake low. Keep some roasted almonds handy or have fresh fruit instead. Read our article about which fruits you should eat if you have hypertension, and which to avoid, to better prepare for your trip.
- Explore the city on foot: If you are enthusiastic about exploring new places, it is best to do so on foot. It will not only give you a chance to really get to know the place but also allow you to get some exercise. Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity in a day. This way, you will keep your heart healthy and your mind relaxed. If you are on a business trip and don’t have the time to take in the sights, try to make full use of the hotel gym.
- Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol: We know a vacation is a time to party for some people, and that a business trip can keep you up all night. However, your health is of prime importance, and excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol will adversely impact your blood pressure levels. Keep in mind that moderation is the key. And, if possible, you should always opt for a healthier option like coconut water and fresh fruit juices.
Whether you are travelling for business or going on a vacation, it is best to plan and prepare ahead to avert any risk of complications related to your blood pressure. Your health should be your first priority at all times. Remember to stay calm and take care of yourself, and everything else will work out just fine.
- Air travel [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jul 31]. Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/air-travel.
- Healthy travel [Internet]. [updated 2018 Jul 16; cited 2019 Jul 31]. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/mental-health-and-wellbeing/healthy-travel.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. 10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication [Internet]. [updated 2019 Jan 09; cited 2019 Jul 31]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974.