Travel and festivals can generally take you off track from your daily schedule. There is also the attraction of a relaxed lifestyle during a trip and the temptation of delicious festive foods. But is it ok to stray away occasionally from a healthy and disciplined lifestyle if you have hypertension? What if we tell you that you can enjoy that trip and relish those festivities while still taking care of your condition? Here are some easy tips to manage hypertension while travelling and during festivals.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a chronic condition where your blood pressure is consistently too high.
Your blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood pumped by your heart and the resistance in the blood vessels of your heart. When the arteries of your heart become narrower (due to plaque formation, etc.), it becomes difficult for your heart to pump the same amount of blood, hence the rise in blood pressure.
Adopting healthy lifestyle changes such as having a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining an ideal body weight, and limiting your sodium intake can help you manage hypertension. In cases where lifestyle changes are not enough to manage hypertension, your doctor might prescribe anti-hypertensive medications that will help manage the condition.
When you are diagnosed with a chronic condition such as hypertension, you ideally need to keep an eye on your daily routine and make sure you follow healthy practices consistently. It can get difficult at times, especially when your daily schedule is disrupted on special occasions, such as when you plan a trip or when the entire family is celebrating a festival.
Read on to know a few tips on managing hypertension during travel and festivals.
It is important to consult your doctor while planning a trip. You can get a thorough examination done a few days before the trip to make sure you are fit to travel.
If you are travelling across time zones, you can take advice from your doctor on how to adjust your sleep routine and medications accordingly.
When you are travelling, it is always safer to pack more medicines than you would require. The medications that you are using might not be available in the new city or country that you are travelling to. Also, make sure you pack your BP monitor and spare batteries, as it is important to check your BP regularly even when you are travelling.
Your BP-friendly diet plans can go off track while travelling as it is often difficult to find the foods that you otherwise eat on a regular basis. You can research the local cuisines and plan your diet in advance in order to keep it healthy and balanced. While eating at restaurants you can ask for a low-salt version of the dish you are ordering. Also, try to avoid fried food and go for baked or roasted food instead.
Holidays can have a relaxed feel but you should try to stay as active as you can. Walk as much as possible as part of your holiday activities. If walking is not possible, you can check for gym facilities at your accommodation or get some basic exercise within your room every day.
It is always better to be prepared for emergencies, especially in a foreign place that you may not know too well.
While you are collecting other details on the place you are planning to visit, make sure that you note down the contact details of the clinic or hospital that is closest to your place of stay. Keep these details with you at all times.
Try and prepare low-fat and low-sugar versions of your favourite festive foods and watch your portion sizes. While cooking, try baking or roasting food items instead of deep frying them.
Also, opt for foods that are high in fibre, proteins, and healthy fats for most meals of the day. Watch your consumption of liquid calories in the form of sugary drinks and sherbets, which are easily disregarded. If eating heavy foods, opt for water as an accompaniment instead of sugary drinks.
Both chronic and occasional stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Fulfilling all the chores during festivals can get tiring and stressful. It is important to set aside 10 to 20 minutes for self-care in between your busy schedule.
You can practise relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to relax. It is equally important to get enough sleep (at least 7 hours) to rejuvenate. Inadequate sleep can adversely affect your blood pressure.
Though festivals call for a mouth-watering feast, it is important to keep an eye on what to eat with hypertension. Having excess salty food can elevate your blood pressure. Salt can lead to water retention, thus increasing your blood volume and elevating your blood pressure. Stay away from excess salt in food.
If you are consuming alcohol, make sure to have it in moderation. Alcohol, when consumed in excess, can elevate your blood pressure by narrowing the walls of your blood vessels. You can try to replace alcoholic beverages with healthier options such as coconut water or unsweetened fruit juices.
Though you might be occupied with the festive preparations, do not forget to monitor your BP regularly as advised by your doctor. A sudden change in your daily routine and diet may lead to fluctuations in blood pressure.
Monitoring your BP regularly and taking the medications as prescribed will help prevent a rise in your blood pressure and related complications.
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