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Can Pilots Fly with High Blood Pressure?

Can Pilots Fly with High Blood Pressure?

ANSWER:

Pilots can NOT fly with high blood pressure.

Though high blood pressure is not a medical restriction for passengers, it does prohibit a pilot from obtaining the medical certification required to fly.

Why Pilots Can’t Fly with Hypertension

Because the presence of hypertension increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, eye problems, and kidney failure, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) considers the condition to be a serious issue when piloting an aircraft.  The Administration will not grant medical clearance to pilots with hypertension until it is managed and several long-term conditions are met.

What Does the FAA Consider High Blood Pressure?

Elevated blood pressure is considered normal at times.  Hypertension is diagnosed when the blood pressure is consistently elevated.  A blood pressure reading of 140 or higher for systolic and 90 or higher for diastolic is considered high.  A reading of anything greater than 120/80 is considered prehypertension. [“What Are High Blood Pressure and Prehypertension?” nhlbi.nih.gov]

The FAA disqualifies pilots for hypertension when the systolic pressure is above 155, and the diastolic number is above 95. [“Hypertension”, faa.gov]

REFERENCES:

“Hypertension.” FAA: Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/medical_certification/specialissuance/hypertension/

“What Are High Blood Pressure and Prehypertension?.” NIH Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/hbp/whathbp.htm>

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