A study shows that blood pressure is higher and more challenging to manage in winter A study shows that blood pressure is higher and more challenging to manage in winter

A study shows that blood pressure is higher and more challenging to manage in winter.

 

  • High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects roughly 1.28 billion adults worldwide.

  • Treatments for hypertension typically involve medications as well as changes to one's lifestyle.

  • During the winter months, blood pressure tends to be higher than in the summer.

 

This is especially true for those suffering from hypertension. Regular blood pressure monitoring can detect any changes in blood pressure and provide an opportunity to adjust medications or lifestyle accordingly.

It has been suggested that weather changes may influence a person's blood pressure. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the seasonal changes in blood pressure.

Globally, 1.28 billion adults aged between 30 and 79 are diagnosed with hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can strain the cardiovascular system, affecting blood flow. This can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, organ damage and other medical complications.

How the weather affects blood pressure

Several studies have demonstrated that blood pressure tends to fluctuate throughout the year.

Generally, blood pressure rises during the cold winter and drops during the warmer summer months.

Vasodilation is when the arteries open up and become more permeable, allowing more blood to pass through them. Meanwhile, vasoconstriction is when the arteries close down and become less porous, reducing the amount of blood that passes through them. These processes are controlled by hormones and other chemicals released in the body in response to various stimuli.

In cold weather, the arteries constrict, causing a rise in blood pressure. Conversely, when the body is too hot, the blood vessels dilate, which helps to cool the body.

Research revealed that a rise of 10 degrees in the temperature of a room can cause a fundamental modification in systolic blood pressure.

Elderly people living in homes with a temperature below 64 degrees Fahrenheit had higher blood pressure levels, lower biomarker values in their blood, and worse respiratory conditions.

Blood pressure in hot vs. cold temperatures

This study reviewed the electronic health records of over 60,000 adults who had received treatment for high blood pressure between July 2018 and June 2023 at six healthcare centres.

The study group's average age was 62. Over half of the participants were of Caucasian descent, and approximately three-fifths were female.

Scientists conducting a study on seasonal blood pressure readings observed that the participants' systolic blood pressure was, on average, 1.7 mm Hg higher in the winter than in the summer.

Furthermore, researchers discovered that participants' blood pressure control rate decreased by 5% during the colder months.

 A considerable amount of fluctuation was noticed in blood pressure control between winter and summer, even though the degree of systolic blood pressure variation was less. Moreover, the temperate season was a significant factor in visit control, which has yet to be widely discussed.

More blood pressure monitoring is needed during the winter months

Due to the lower blood pressure control rates, physicians and individuals should take extra measures to control their blood pressure during this time. He recommended lifestyle interventions such as increased exercise and dietary modifications.

Blood pressure is known to vary significantly with the changing seasons, which can greatly impact the ability to control hypertension. Hypertension is typically considered to be under control when the blood pressure is maintained at a level below 140/90.

If the blood pressure is kept at an optimal level of <130/<80, it is unlikely to rise to <140/<90 due to seasonal fluctuation.

Patients with blood pressure close to 140/90 should monitor their blood pressure frequently, receive more immediate medical care, and take steps to maintain their physical activity and weight. In addition, some patients may need to take additional medication to keep their blood pressure under control during the winter.

Implications for people with high blood pressure

The study under review sheds light on the impact of seasonal variations on blood pressure, and its significance lies in the extensive and diverse group of participants it involved.

This research is essential in determining how closely medical professionals should observe a patient's blood pressure based on the time of year.

Consequently, we should be especially vigilant in ensuring that our measurements are precise during the winter, as we may need to alter our medications to regulate our blood pressure effectively.

The next step of this research is conducting public outreach or educating physicians about the impact of this type of effect.

Many of us need more awareness regarding the cold weather's effect on blood pressure. Therefore, providing physicians with more education on the significance of blood pressure monitoring during the winter season would benefit patients.

Although the study's outcome was expected, it is beneficial to have research on this topic as there are still many unanswered questions regarding the link between weather and blood pressure.

It is a notable change, as a few blood pressure points can have lasting effects on the body when sustained over a long period.

The key to understanding blood pressure is to investigate the other environmental factors that can affect it. Greater awareness of how everyday activities and exposures can impact health factors related to cardiovascular disease should be the focus of future research.

What to know about high blood pressure

The arteries are filled with blood that is pushed through them with pressure, and blood pressure gauges this force of the blood flow.

A person's blood pressure is taken as two different numbers:

The systolic blood pressure is measured as the maximum pressure in the arteries when the heart beats or contracts. It is typically represented by the top number in a blood pressure reading.

The diastolic blood pressure, indicated by the lower number, is the pressure of the arteries when the heart is at rest.

Blood pressure in one's arteries is expressed in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg).

120 mm Hg or lower systolic pressure and 80 mm Hg or lower diastolic pressure are normal blood pressure.

It is considered high blood pressure if the systolic and diastolic readings are 130 mm Hg or greater.

It is essential to have your blood pressure monitored regularly, as high blood pressure can often be asymptomatic.

Obesity, ethnicity, insulin resistance, smoking, and a high-salt diet are all factors that can increase one’s risk for developing hypertension, although the exact cause is still unknown. Previous research has indicated that these factors may contribute to a person’s risk for high blood pressure.

An individual with high blood pressure may be more prone to developing other diseases, such as:

 

  • Vascular dementia
  • Heart failure

  • Kidney disease

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Heart attack

  • Heart disease

  • Stroke

 

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