by Phil Day


4 February 2021


An essential guide to travelling with High Blood Pressure 
By Phil Day, Superintendent Pharmacist – Pharmacy2U

Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure of the blood pressing against the walls of your arteries, as it travels away from the heart. It’s one of the 4 vital signs which are monitored by medical professionals (including body temperature, pulse rate and respiratory rate) and there can be serious implications if it’s too high (hypertension).

In this article I’m going to explore high blood pressure, how it can be managed and how to be prepared when travelling.


What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?


If you have a reading of 140/90mmHg or above, this is considered to be high blood pressure.

However if you’re 80 or older, then it’s considered to be high if it’s over 150/90mmHg.


What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?


The symptoms of high blood pressure are rarely noticeable, which means you could be living with it without knowing.

The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is by having it measured.

When your blood pressure is high, it puts an extra strain in your heart, blood vessels, and other organs in your body. Left untreated, it can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, heart failure, strokes, kidney disease, aortic aneurysms, and others.


What causes high blood pressure?


The causes of high blood pressure are not always clear, but there are several factors that increase the risk, including:

  • Smoking
  • Not exercising enough
  • Drinking too much alcohol, coffee or other caffeine-based drinks
  • Eating too much salt and too few fruits and vegetables
  • Not getting enough sleep, or having poor quality sleep
  • Having a relative with high blood pressure
  • Aged over 65
  • Being of black African or black Caribbean descent

How is high blood pressure treated?


High blood pressure can usually be successfully managed, although the recommended treatment may vary from person to person.

Lowering a raised blood pressure reduces risk of developing a more serious health condition later.

By making changes to your lifestyle, it’s possible to reach and maintain a normal blood pressure.

Changes you could make include:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Exercising regularly
  • Cutting back on alcohol
  • Drinking fewer caffeinated drinks
  • Losing weight, if you’re overweight

There are also medicines which can be prescribed to help keep your blood pressure under control.

Many people will need to take a combination of different medicines and the medicines you are prescribed may vary depending on age and ethnicity.

If you’re under 55 years old you’ll usually be offered or an angiotensin-2 receptor blocker (ARB), or an ACE inhibitor.
If you’re 55 years old or older or of African or Caribbean origin then you’ll usually be offered a medicine called a calcium channel blocker.

It’s important to take any medicines prescribed exactly as agreed with your doctor.

When you’re taking medicine to treat high blood pressure, you will probably not feel any different – but this doesn’t mean it’s not working or that it’s not important for you to take it every day.

It’s lowering your risk of worsening health in the future.


Can I travel with high blood pressure?


Having high blood pressure shouldn’t be a barrier for travelling but it is always a good idea to check with your GP before making any travel plans.

If your high blood pressure is well controlled with medication, then flying and travelling should be fine for you to do with the right precautions.


Tips for travelling with high blood pressure:


  • Choose Travel Insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions and make sure you declare High Blood Pressure if you have been diagnosed with it. That means it will cover any high blood pressure related medical costs if you need treatment while on holiday.
  • Pack your medication in your hand luggage so that you have easy access to it and minimise the risk of your medication getting lost in your suitcase. It is a good idea to take extra medication with you just in case you lose any or end up being delayed.
  • You should also take your prescription with you, as this will help in the event that you need to get more medication while you are away.
  • It is best to take your own food to take on the plane with you as airline food can sometimes have high levels of salt which can increase your blood pressure levels.
  • If you have a trip planned full of adrenaline-filled activities, check them with your GP just to make sure they are happy for you to take part (and mention to your Insurance provider)
  • If you are travelling to a different time zone you may want to adjust the time you take your medication accordingly. However, if you want to keep taking it at the same time you do at home, for example with breakfast, this is also fine to do. Just make sure you are taking the medicine as prescribed and not taking more than the recommended dose.

How to get your high blood pressure medication from Pharmacy2U


If you have an NHS repeat prescription for high blood pressure, then Pharmacy2U can help. Our UK-based team of pharmacists can help you cut out unnecessary trips to the GP or pharmacist by delivering the medication you need to your door. Our simple service lets you order your prescription from anywhere and registration is quick and simple.

For more information and support about high blood pressure, talk to your GP or pharmacist.

 Visit Pharmacy2U’s website >

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