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Hypertension - Introduction

High Blood Pressure

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FAA Disease Protocols-Hypertension

Elevated Systolic or Diastolic Blood Pressure

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FlightPhysical.com will discuss Hypertension in sections. This parallels the FAA's instructions to AMEs concerning this common and serious problem.

Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a common condition where the pressure of the blood flowing through the arteries of the body is higher than it should be. Pilots and controllers are often affected whether or not they have the classic "type A" personality. Much like the pressure of the air in a tire, if the pressure of the blood is too high it can damage the arteries and organs of the body. Just like the tire, if the pressure suddenly becomes very high, catastrophic events can happen. Similarly, if the pressure remains somewhat elevated for a long enough period of time, premature wear and failure can occur.

Hypertension has its worst effects on the heart, kidneys, eyes, and brain. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, hemorrhages of the retina of the eye, and generalized atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries all over the body).

It is easy to understand, then, why we are concerned about pilots who have high blood pressure. We dont like to see aviators flying when they are at increased risk for these conditions. Fortunately, hypertension is easy to treat. For many people, simply achieving an appropriate weight, exercising regularly, and watching dietary salt will control their mild hypertension. Other individuals may be required to take medications to reduce their blood pressure. Either way, hypertension and its treatment should have little effect on ones ability to be medically certified to fly.

As you research hypertensin in aviators, you will want to review Measurement of Hypertension during the Pilot Exam

Click on links for the procedures for specific FAA instructions on initial reporting, medication discussion and followup procedures:

List of Medical Problems
Pilot Home
General Waiver Page
AME Locator
Medical Standards Index

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