I have high blood pressure - what next?
Hypertension, however, doesn’t have to ground you. FAA has a long-standing policy allowing airmen with controlled hypertension to be certified for any class of medical. FAA allows most blood pressure medications including diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-adrenergic blocking agents, calcium channel blocking agents, direct vasodilators, or combinations of these agents.
When you visit your AME for the first time after being diagnosed and treated for hypertension, you should bring the following-
- A status report (letter) from your treating doctor that should indicate any pertinent personal and family history, including an assessment of risk factors for coronary heart disease; a statement that indicates your blood pressure is under good control,a summary of medications and dosages; three separate blood pressure readings, statements regarding any medication side effects, and a statement existance of any damage to your kidneys, heart, or eyes secondary to high blood pressure this is known as end-organ disease (ie letter should indicate the pressence or absence of end-organ disease.)
Here is an example of such a status report:
To: FAA, Aeromedical Certification Division
From: Your Doctor
Mr./Ms Airman is a patient of mine currently treated for hypertension. His/Her blood pressure is well controlled with the following medication- _____________. He/She has no medication side effects from this treatment. His/Her blood pressure is well controlled his/her and three recent blood pressures are as follows: ________________ (these readings should reflect good blood pressure control and at the very least be within the FAA limit of lower than 155/95. He/She has no significant history of cardiac disease and has no evidence of end-organ damage secondary to high blood pressure (or if indicated there is a positive family history or end-organ damage the doctor should discuss thathin the letter). He/She has no other risk factors for heart disease (or if indicated, he/she has the following risk factors ie smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.) Attached is an ECG, and laboratory studies consisting of a lipid profile, fasting glucose, and metabolic profile.
The AME has to have the status report at the time of the FAA physical examination in order to issue a certificate. If you don't bring it, the examiner can hold the application for up to 10 working days to allow you to get the information. Otherwise, the application will have to be deferred to the FAA without the reports, resulting in a substantial delay (up to a few months) in issuing your medical certificate.