Medical Exam Fail

Blog Learning To Fly

I had my first medical exam last night. The examination in itself is really very simple. painless actually. You have a chat about your medical history, you talk over a few points, they poke and prod you, do that weird reflex test and generally check you’re not going to keel over mid-flight… which I am ashamed to say I might…

I thought I was doing everything right though, eating healthy, exercising, not drinking too much but despite all of this, it would appear that I have high blood pressure. Not worryingly high you understand but not sufficiently low enough to be presented with a class 2 medical certificate. For the first time in many years, I have failed an exam… despite what I thought was doing the proper “revision”.

Dr Donald E Cook

Apparently this is quite common though, which makes me feel a little better. My doctor Doctor Donald E Cook, consultant in occupational medicine and aviation medicine (you can contact him on 0845 649 9845 if you need a medical yourself) explained that around 10 percent of the pilots he has on his books have a higher than normal blood pressure and mine could have been related to “white coat syndrome” whereby your blood pressure is much higher due to the worry of the examination or medical procedure about to take place. It did begin to drop over the course of the exam but clearly, I couldn’t lay there all evening.

My next steps, on the advice of Dr Cook are to try and naturally reduce my blood pressure, relieve some stress perhaps and take thrice daily readings for the next week using a calibrated machine. If the high pressure continues, I need to do something about it. If it’s back in the normal ranges… play on.