As the summer vacation season unfolds, those with hypertension should be aware of how temperature and flight conditions can affect their cardiovascular health.

Understanding the Impact of Temperature on Hypertension
Recent research has shown a significant association between ambient temperature and the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory adverse health outcomes.1 During summer, as temperatures rise, individuals with hypertension may experience noticeable fluctuations in their blood pressure levels and cardiac responses.1
In fact, even the controlled environment of an aircraft cabin, where temperatures usually range between 20°C and 23°C, can impact determinations of cardiac activity.2 This is particularly important for hypertensive individuals who are planning to travel by air.

The Cardiovascular Challenges of Air Travel
Air travel introduces unique cardiovascular challenges for people with hypertension. Changes in cabin pressure, altitude, and the overall stress of travel can cause shifts in blood pressure and heart rate.3 Moreover, factors such as physical fitness can also influence cardiovascular responses during flight.2
Studies have also highlighted the risks associated with high-altitude exposure in patients with cardiovascular disease, which includes individuals with hypertension.4 The environmental factors encountered at high altitudes, like cold temperature and low humidity, can even trigger cardiovascular events in patients with cyanotic heart disease during flights ranging from 1.5 to 7 hours.4

Recommendations for Hypertensive Travelers
If you have hypertension and are planning to travel this summer, here are some recommendations:4

  1. Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration can help prevent spikes in blood pressure.
  2. Monitor Blood Pressure: Regularly check your blood pressure throughout your trip.
  3. Manage Stress: Utilize relaxation techniques to keep stress levels under control.
  4. Consult Your Doctor: Always seek advice from your healthcare provider before traveling, especially if you have hypertension.

Understanding these associations and taking necessary precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable summer vacation. Safe travels!

This is a non-promotional material and is supported by Novartis. The content is intended for medical educational purposes only. Novartis does not engage in the promotion of unregistered products or unapproved indications. Please consult local Prescribing Information for registration/product license details.
  1. Achebak H, Rey G, Lloyd SJ, Quijal-Zamorano M, Méndez-Turrubiates RF, Ballester J. Ambient temperature and risk of cardiovascular and respiratory adverse health outcomes: a nationwide cross-sectional study from Spain. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2024 Feb 13:zwae021. doi: 10.1093/eurjpc/zwae021. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38364198. 
  2. Oliveira-Silva I, Leicht AS, Moraes MR, Simões HG, Del Rosso S, Córdova C, Boullosa DA. Heart Rate and Cardiovascular Responses to Commercial Flights: Relationships with Physical Fitness. Front Physiol. 2016 Dec 27;7:648. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00648. PMID: 28082914; PMCID: PMC5186762.
  3. Okyay K. Systemic arterial hypertension and flight. Anatol J Cardiol. 2021 Aug;25(Suppl 1):7-9. doi: 10.5152/AnatolJCardiol.2021.S104. PMID: 34464291; PMCID: PMC8412044. 
  4. Rimoldi SF, Sartori C, Seiler C, Delacrétaz E, Mattle HP, Scherrer U, Allemann Y. High-altitude exposure in patients with cardiovascular disease: risk assessment and practical recommendations. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2010 May-Jun;52(6):512-24. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2010.03.005. PMID: 20417345.
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