Interestingly, yes, there is indeed a connection between the weather and blood pressure. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers concluded that, “For each age, sex, and treatment group systolic and diastolic pressures were higher in winter than in summer. The seasonal variation in blood pressure was greater in older than in younger subjects and was highly significantly related to maximum and minimum daily air temperature measurements but not to rainfall.”
Yet another study in the Journal of Hypertension concluded, “Both systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were greatest during the winter across the whole distribution of blood pressure. There was a fourfold increase in the proportion of subjects with blood pressures more than 160/90 mmHg in winter compared with in summer.”
How could colder weather affect blood pressure? It all comes back to one of the primary causes of hypertension – constriction of the blood vessels. When it’s cold, the blood vessels near the skin tend to contract to save heat, this compression causes blood pressure to go up.
Interestingly, cold weather isn’t the end of the story. In a study of 444,000 people in the US, even people who live in places with very little seasonal temperature change and very mild winters, like Puerto Rico, still had higher blood pressure in the winter.
Researchers speculate that in addition to cold weather, the reduced physical activity, weight gain, reduced sunlight exposure and perhaps even the stress of the holiday season might be contributing factors too.
As always, your healthcare needs are unique. Ask your physician about how your treatment plan might be affected by the seasons.
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Andy Krals is the creator of numerous naturopathic medical programs, including The Breathtaking Nature Method, available at http://lowerbloodpressuredrugfree.com/