HOW TO LIVE WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: VACATIONS

Make your vacation serve your health needs by planning it carefully and in detail. Doctors are frequently asked how often should vacations be taken and for how long.

It is important for people with high blood pressure to "switch off," to get away from their job with its attendant worries and problems. So if at all possible take two annual vacations of 1-2 weeks each.

When is the best time for a vacation? Avoid the summer crowds and hot months. That will net give you the needed rest. Spring and fall are far better times.

Where to go? The shorter and less strenuous the trip you take, the more remote and restful the area, the greater your chances of rest and relaxation. Wooded rolling hills or mountain foothills are ideal spots, but the seashore in mild climates is also recommended. Stay away from the tropics, however.

Mountains. Elevations of between 1,300 and 2,600 feet are fine, although people with mild hypertension can tolerate heights of up to 5,000 feet. But if you have severe hypertension and congestive heart failure, elevations of more than 4,000 feet are definitely hazardous. And everyone with high blood pressure should avoid too rapid changes in altitudes, such as going up a mountain in a cable car.

Car travel. If at all possible leave your car at home, particularly if you are planning a long trip. One day behind the wheel is more strenuous than a full day's work. And without a car you will get more rest once you have arrived at your destination. For short trips try renting a bicycle. If you feel you absolutely must take a car, make frequent rest stops and if possible avoid driving on crowded highways.

Flying. On short flights there are no great changes in cabin pressure and most patients can take such trips without running any risk. On long trips flying at altitudes of between 33,000 and 40,000 feet (equivalent to land altitudes of 6,500-8,000 feet) people with a controlled pressure generally fare quite well, probably because they are resting. But the rapid pressure changes in take-off and landing can cause serious problems. It therefore seems advisable that persons suffering from malignant hypertension, or persons whose pressure has not been controlled, who have cerebrovascular problems, angina pectoris, arrhythmias, coronary insufficiency, or are recovering from a recent heart attack, should not fly, or certainly not without first consulting their doctor. While flying avoid foods likely to produce gaseous distension ("gas"), carbonated beverages, and adjust your medication schedule to changes in the time zones.

Spas. European spas with mineral water cures should be avoided because of the high sodium content of most such waters. At any rate consult your doctor before taking any "cure".

Sunbathing and saunas. Overexposure to sun and heat are not advisable, especially if you are taking strong antihypertensive drugs. That means stay away from southern beaches. Moderate sunbathing in temperate climates and moderate physical activity are permitted. The heat of a sauna bath puts no greater strain on the heart and circulation than do swimming and jogging, but don't follow this by an ice-cold shower or plunge into an icy pool. This can drive your blood pressure up to dangerously high levels. Cool off before taking a cool shower. People with moderately high blood pressure generally have no trouble with saunas, but a long-range effect on the blood pressure is lacking. The decision in individual cases must be left to the doctor. Persons with very high or poorly controlled blood pressure or persons suffering from congestive heart failure or angina pectoris should stay away from saunas.

Diet and medication. Don't deviate from your diet and don't stop taking your drugs while on vacation, even though your blood pressure may go down when you are relaxed. If you take your own blood pressure consult your doctor whether you can reduce the drug dosage when and if your pressure goes down. If you go to a foreign country be sure to take an adequate supply of your medication; it may not be available in the place you are visiting.

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Cardio & Blood/ Сholesterol