What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. Blood pressure will naturally fluctuate, and this is normal, but someone will be diagnosed with high blood pressure if they have a sustained blood pressure reading of 140/90mmHg or higher.
High blood pressure normally doesn’t result in any noticeable symptoms, but a sharp rise in blood pressure can result in symptoms including a severe headache, disorientation or confusion and difficulty breathing.
If your blood pressure is unstable or very high it is important to speak to your doctor before you make any travel plans.
Do you suffer from low blood pressure? We also have a guide: Flying with Low Blood Pressure
Causes of High Blood Pressure
There are many causes of high blood pressure. In many cases, there is no cause for concern, but it is important to always seek professional medical advice, as high blood pressure can point to a serious underlying cause, such as diabetes.
Causes can include: being overweight, eating too much salt, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, getting older, having a family history of high blood pressure, or not exercising enough.
Does Flying Affect Blood Pressure?
Yes. It is important to understand that some elements of air travel can potentially raise already high blood pressure. Even in the pressurised cabin of an aircraft, at high altitudes passengers who experience high blood pressure can be at risk of hypoxaemia, which is a low oxygen concentration in the blood. This won’t always affect those with high blood pressure, but if you have an underlying medical condition such as heart disease or heart failure, you could be more susceptible to hypoxaemia.
Is it Safe to Fly with High Blood Pressure?
Yes, in most instances, it will be safe for those with high blood pressure to travel. There isn't a standardised limit that can stop someone from flying, but high blood pressure should be controlled with medication for your safety.