You Rarely Go Outside
Binging a new show on Netflix for days on end while quarantining inside your home should protect you from COVID-19, but it could increase your blood pressure or worsen existing hypertension, suggests a study in the Journal of American Heart Association. And why is this? It’s the lack of sunlight that’s boosting your blood pressure.
In the observational study, researchers analyzed 46 million blood pressure readings from 342,000 patients in 2,200 dialysis clinics and found that exposure to UV sunlight was associated with lower systolic blood pressure. For decades, scientists have known of seasonal variation in blood pressure, but had linked it to factors such as air temperature and vitamin D, which is produced when sunlight hits the skin. This new study found that temperature played a role, but “half the seasonal variation in blood pressure is independent of temperature. It’s due to the UV alone,” said lead author Dr. Richard Weller of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
You Don’t Know Your Numbers
If you don’t check your blood pressure, you won’t know if there’s a potential problem. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that 13 million people in the United States are not aware that they have hypertension and therefore are not making lifestyle changes or taking medication to help control it.
Could High Blood Pressure At Night Have An Effect On Your Brain
Most people’s blood pressure goes down during the night, which doctors call “dipping.” But for some people, especially those with high blood pressure, their nighttime pressure stays the same or even goes up, called “reverse dipping.” A new study shows that people with high blood pressure and reverse dipping may be more likely to have small areas in the brain that appear damaged from vascular disease and associated memory problems. The study is published in the April 15, 2020, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“These results add to the mounting evidence that shows the importance of vascular risk factors in contributing to memory problems,” said study author Adam M. Brickman, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York, N.Y. “They also point to the potential impact of preventing high blood pressure through efforts such as maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and having a healthy diet.”
The study involved 435 people with an average age of 59 who were enrolled in a study of aging in Venezuela. Their blood pressure was monitored for 24 hours at home with a device that took their pressure every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at night. They had brain scans to look for the small areas in the brain that appear damaged from vascular disease, called white matter hyperintensities. They also took tests of their memory and other thinking skills.
Also Check: Will Aspirin Raise Blood Pressure
You Don’t Know What Those Numbers Mean
OK, so you checked your blood pressure on the machine at your local CVS, but what does 130/90 mean?
Well, it means you may have elevated blood pressure and now have a reason to see your doctor. The top number stands for systolic pressure, the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats or pumps. The bottom or diastolic number;represents the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills with blood. The official guidelines say that normal blood pressure is under 120/80.
American Heart Association News Stories
American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association.
Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, for individuals, media outlets, and non-commercial education and awareness efforts to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to American Heart Association News.
HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or call for emergency medical help immediately.
Don’t Miss: Does Claritin Affect Blood Pressure
How Does My Circadian Rhythm Affect My Blood Pressure Medication
Michael Smolensky, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, Ausin, reports, â”The body doesn’t respond to medications in the same way at different times of the day. Some drugs are not as effective or as well tolerated if they’re taken at the wrong biological time. It’s not that they’re not effective at all, but they’re certainly much less effective.”Studies on chronotherapy have found that taking high blood pressure medications before bedtime help with the non-dipping issue. This reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke by normalizing your daily blood pressure rhythm. Specifically, it has been reported that drugs called ACE inhibitors and ARBs are the most effective when taken at bedtime.
Why Does My Blood Pressure Vary Throughout The Day
You may have heard the term circadian rhythm. If so, you know this is not a beat to keep on the dance floor. It is a biological cycle your body follows. As defined by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, âCircadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment.â As your body cycles through this rhythm each day, responding to both internal and external stimuli, your blood pressure is affected.
The study of these important rhythms, known as chronobiology, was founded by Franz Halberg. His work in this field has helped identify abnormal rhythms in day-night blood pressure readings.Keeping the Beat of Blood PressureFollowing this chronobiological rhythm, your blood pressure is normally higher during the daytime and lower at night, during sleeping hours. Hereâs the problem. People with high blood pressure often donât experience this night time dip. This lack of a lowering of blood pressure at night is referred to as non-dipping.Whatâs the big deal? Heart attack and stroke have been found to be associated with non-dipping. Your blood pressure stays elevated, and your body is not in the relaxed state it should be during rest.
Read Also: Does Spicy Food Raise Your Blood Pressure
Beware Of Blood Pressure Changes At Night
When systolic blood pressure jumps up by 20 mm/Hg or more during the night, the risk of heart disease and stroke goes up by 18% and the risk of heart failure increases by 25%.
If people consistently had higher blood pressure readings at night, but normal readings during the day, the risk of heart failure more than doubled. The researchers, writing in the journal Circulation, dubbed this a “riser pattern.”
On the other hand, for people with a drop in blood pressure of more than 20%, the study team noted a more than twice the risk of stroke. They called this group “extreme dippers.”
“Nighttime blood pressure is increasingly being recognized as a predictor of cardiovascular risk,” study lead author Dr. Kazuomi Kario said in a journal news release. He’s chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Jichi Medical University in Tochigi, Japan.
Dr. Raymond Townsend, an expert volunteer for the American Heart Association, said blood pressure is typically higher in the morning and lower in the afternoon and evening.
Compared to the overall daytime blood pressure pattern, “blood pressure is generally about 10% to 20% lower during sleep. Sleep time offers a relatively pure look at blood pressure. Most factors that influence blood pressure are minimized during sleep,” he explained.
The Truth About Sleep And Blood Pressure
Sharing is caring!
Youve gone in for your routine physical examination, and youre told what millions of Americans are: you have high blood pressure But, like many Americans, you may not be aware of the truth behind the powerful connection between blood pressure spikes and the quality of your sleep.
As a sleep doctor, I spend a lot of time explaining the health benefits of sleep, from everything like our mental health to even helping us look younger. In short, while quality, restorative sleep helps support our health, the opposite is also true: sleep disorders can affect our mind, bodies and even leave us more prone to depression.
This week Im tackling the most common questions about high blood pressure and sleep, including is lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure; why sleep apnea may play a role, and what might be behind a sudden spike of high blood pressure at night.
Ill finish by giving you tips to lower your blood pressure naturally, no prescription required, and how to more easily fall asleep and fall back asleep if you wake up in the middle of the night; using my Sleep Doctor PM formula. .
Also Check: Spicy Food Blood Pressure
Lowering Systolic Blood Pressure More May Cut Health Risks
One major study found;that lowering systolic blood pressure to well below the commonly recommended level also greatly lowered the number of cardiovascular events and deaths among people at least 50 years old with high blood pressure.
When study participants achieved a systolic blood pressure target of 120 mmHg compared to the higher target of 140 mmHg recommended for most people, and 150 for people over 60 issues such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure were reduced by almost one-third, and the risk of death by almost one-fourth.
“That’s important information, because more lives may be saved and more deaths may be prevented if we maintain lower blood pressure in certain patients,” says Lynne Braun, NP, PhD, a nurse practitioner at the Rush Heart Center for Women.
Braun cautions, however, that your personal blood pressure target depends on a variety of things, including your current blood pressure, lifestyle, risk factors, other medications you are taking and your age. “Every person has to be evaluated as an individual,” she says. “Realistically, we can’t get everybody down to 120, and trying to do so may create unintended problems.”
It can be dangerous, for instance, to keep an older person on medications that have unsafe side effects, such as diuretics , which can cause dehydration and dizziness in older adults.
And there can be other issues involved with taking multiple medications, such as cost and compliance.
How Is Morning Hypertension Treated
Morning hypertension generally happens because the effects of the antihypertensive medications a person is on do not last for 24 hours. Hence, your doctor may recommend antihypertensive medications that target morning hypertension to be combined with your existing hypertension treatment.
Before this additional medication is prescribed, the first step of treatment is self-monitoring of early morning blood pressure at home. Once you have been diagnosed with morning hypertension, your doctor will adjust your medications to reduce the surge in morning BP.
You May Like: Does Claritin D Raise Blood Pressure
Why You Should Check Your Blood Pressure In The Morning
08 November 2015
ORLANDO, Fla. People who have high blood pressure are often advised to monitor their blood pressure at home, and now, a new study suggests that blood pressure measured in the morning may be a better predictor of stroke risk than blood pressure measured in the evening.
In the study, researchers looked at data from people in Japan and found that, when measured in the morning, higher blood pressure was related to an increased risk of stroke. When measured in the evening, however, higher blood pressure was not as closely related to people’s stroke risk.
Blood pressure has a tendency to surge in the morning, and this surge is greater in Asian populations than in people in Western countries, said Dr. Satoshi Hoshide, an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Jichi Medical University in Japan and the lead author of the study.
Because of this, the morning blood pressure measurement is important, especially in Asian populations, Hoshide told Live Science today , here at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting.
The study included more than 4,300 Japanese people who had at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. For two weeks, the people in the study took their blood pressure at home, measuring it once in the morning and once in the evening. The participants were then tracked for a four-year follow-up period. During the follow-up, there were 75 strokes among the group.
Key Terms About Blood Pressure And Hypertension:
- Systolic blood pressure : the top number when BP is checked.;This reflects the pressure in the arteries when the heart squeezes. Its by far the most important number to consider when it comes to older adults.
- Diastolic blood pressure : the lower number when BP is checked. This reflects the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes.
- Pulse: the heart rate. Automatic BP monitors report pulse along with BP. Doctors must evaluate a persons heart rate when considering a change in BP medication.
- Hypertension: Usually defined as BP> 140/90, assuming the readings are taken in a doctors office. If only the systolic BP is high, this is called isolated systolic hypertension. This type of hypertension is very common in older adults, as aging is associated with both increases in systolic BP and decreases in diastolic BP.
You May Like: Do Onions Lower Blood Pressure
Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is;given as 2 figures:
- systolic pressure ;the pressure;when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure ;the pressure when your heart rests between beats
For example, if;your blood pressure is “140 over 90”, or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.
As a general guide:
- high blood pressure is considered to be;140/90mmHg or higher or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80
- ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, while the target for over-80s is below 150/90mmHg
Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Page last reviewed: 23 October 2019 Next review due: 23 October 2022
Reasons Your Blood Pressure Fluctuates
If you are seeing regular fluctuations in your blood pressure readings, youre not alone. Some variation in your blood pressure throughout the day is normal. In fact, there are a number of reasons for this including small changes in daily life, such as stress, exercise or even how well you slept the night before.
According to the American Heart Association , there are more than 116 million adults in the U.S. with high blood pressure. Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General, VADM Jerome Adams, released a for hypertension control to make it a national public health priority. Experts have called for monitoring your blood pressure at home because it is a great way to gain a better understanding of your numbers.
Knowing and regularly measuring your can help you see irregularities that you want to call to your doctors attention. Keeping track of your numbers may help your doctor determine a course of action or treatment. If variances in your blood pressure readings exist, it is important to know that there are some factors you can controlbut some you cant. Lets look at some of the reasons that may cause your blood pressure to fluctuate.
Read Also: Is Vinegar Good For High Blood Pressure
Establish A Regular Sleep Routine
Whether your blood pressure spikes are caused by lack of sleep or just worsened, nows the time to commit to a regular routine and proper sleep hygiene. Start by finding your optimal time to wake and go to bed with my chronotype quiz. Then, make sure to unwind at the end of the dayI recommend an early evening cup of soothing herbal Pique tea, and time to reflect by journaling,my favorite journal is the Best Self Journal.
Blood Pressure Measurement Errors
First, its important to make sure that your blood pressure really is fluctuating. If youve made the measurements yourself using home monitoring equipment or the machines commonly found in grocery stores and pharmacies, the changes youve seen might actually be related to errors or variations in the measurement process itself.
While home blood pressure monitoring can be an effective and useful tool in some situations, you need proper training to ensure you’re using the correct technique, as;performing the measurements without this training might explain the variation you see.
Drugstore machinesthe kind that requires you to sit in a chair and put your arm through a cuffare notorious for being poorly calibrated and fairly inaccurate.
To prevent erroneous reads, it is best to bring your home blood pressure monitor to your next healthcare provider’s appointment to be sure you’re using it correctly, and also bring the home readings to compare them with the readings in your healthcare provider’s office.
Alternatively, some healthcare providers recommend ambulatory blood pressure monitoring;in which a device is worn by a person at home. The devices measure the blood pressure over a one- to two-day period every 15 to 20 minutes during the day and every 30 to 60 minutes at night.
This is more costly and not always available, however, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently approved national coverage for this non-invasive diagnostic test.
Read Also: Spicy Food And Blood Pressure