6 Tips for Managing High Blood Pressure on Vacation

For many people, summer means vacations or weekends at the beach, lake, or other destinations. By getting away from their daily worries and motivating them to be more active than usual, people on vacation may experience less stress and increase their physical activity, which can lower high blood pressure. However, those with hypertension still need to manage their blood pressure while having vacation fun. Here are six tips to help you maintain your usual blood-pressure management routines.

“Heart Club helps me monitor my blood pressure and it’s simple and easy to use.” —  Yvette S. Download Heart Club FREE on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Tip 1: Take your meds. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you’re likely taking prescribed medications to control it. Take enough medications with you to last for the length of your vacation, plus several more days in case of travel delays. You may even want to have a backup stash packed separately and take a written copy of your prescription in case your medications get lost. Always pack your medications in your carry-on bags, not in checked luggage. If you take your blood pressure meds at a specific time each day, keep the time zone difference in mind so you can continue taking them at the same time in your home time zone.

Tip 2: Remain active. You may be more active while on vacation than at home — exploring cities on foot, touring museums, and taking part in outdoor activities — but if you’re spending most of your time relaxing on a beach or enjoying other sedentary activities, be sure to maintain your normal level of physical activity. Take walks, use hotel pools and gyms, and other find other fun ways to keep active. Be aware that scuba diving can cause your blood pressure to spike. If you use hot tubs, saunas, or steam rooms, learn about the risks and drink plenty of water.

Tip 3: Keep an eye on your diet. Vacations provide an opportunity to sample new foods. But remain vigilant about what you eat. From salty airline nibbles to cruise ship buffets, it’s easy to make poor choices or overindulge. Consume sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks moderately or avoid them entirely. Try to maintain your normal eating habits, including having meals on a regular schedule, and stick to healthy snacks.

Tip 4: Manage stress. Although vacations are a time to relax and enjoy yourself, they can also be stressful. Airports, flights, long drives, navigating new situations or foreign countries, and keeping pace with your itinerary are just some of the aspects of travel that can cause anxiety and tension. You’ll find many stress management techniques online to use before and during your vacation.

Tip 5: Take special precautions when flying. If you regulate your hypertension with medication, flying will not likely increase your risk of health problems. The effects of altitude, dehydration, and anxiety can increase your blood pressure during the flight. Discuss your travel plans with your doctor, limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine before and during your flight, avoid salty foods and snacks, and wear loose clothes. The chance of developing blood clots is possible during flights, particularly long ones. Get up and walk around every two hours, do simple exercises in your seat to increase blood circulation, and wear compression socks to improve circulation in your lower legs.

Tip 6: Make sure you’re insured. High blood pressure is an ongoing medical condition, even if you’re managing it with medications, exercise, and diet. If you’re traveling to another country, your U.S. health insurance plan probably will not cover medical treatment abroad. Travel insurance plans provide medical coverage, and some of them cover preexisting conditions, which may include hypertension. Before purchase, read and understand the fine print to make sure having high blood pressure doesn’t invalidate your medical coverage.

“Heart Club is great. I take my BP  every morning and share it with my doctor. Thanks to the developers of this app.” – Ingrid B. Download FREE on the Apple App Store and Google Play

Maintaining Your Heart-Healthy Routine
One long-term medical study concluded that study subjects who had taken more annual vacations were less likely to die from cardiovascular causes, including heart attacks. It’s good news that vacations may be good for your health, but if you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you should still try to maintain your high blood pressure management routine while on vacation. That means taking your meds, eating a heart-healthy diet, and being physically active. One simple way to monitor your activity is to use a step counter. Heart Club, our free cardiologist-designed app includes a step counter to track your distance. It also enables you to record your blood pressure and gives you access to important medical information — all on your phone.

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