High blood pressure: Warmer homes can decrease hypertension, study shows

High blood pressure: Warmer homes can decrease hypertension, study shows

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses blood pressure and dementia

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The risks associated with high blood pressure are multitudinous, from heart disease to vascular dementia – all of which can cut your life short. How can you reduce your blood pressure readings? Dr Stephen Jivraj – the senior author of the study – said “keeping homes a bit warmer” could help to reduce high blood pressure. In his investigation, the research team recorded the blood pressure readings of people inside of their living rooms.

At the same time, the temperature of the participants’ homes were also measured.

The data confirmed that lower indoor temperatures were associated with higher blood pressure readings.

To illustrate, for every drop in indoor temperature by one degree, there was a 0.48mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure.

In addition, there was also a 0.45mmHg increase in diastolic blood pressure for every one degree drop in indoor temperature.

Blood pressure readings

In every blood pressure reading there are two figures – the systolic and diastolic figures.

For example, 130/80mmHg is an example of a hypertensive blood pressure reading.

The first figure (130) is the systolic blood pressure reading, which records the force of the heart’s contraction.

Meanwhile, the second figure (80) is the diastolic blood pressure reading, which records the resistance in the blood vessels.

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The study subjects were chosen by their involvement in the Health Survey for England data.

All participants were initially interviewed by the research team with a questionnaire covering general health and lifestyle factors.

Afterwards, 4,659 participants had nurses visit their home to take their blood pressure reading and to measure the indoor temperature of their living rooms.

Those in the coolest homes had an average blood pressure reading of around 126/74mmHg.

For those in the warmest homes, the average blood pressure reading was 121/70mmHg.

“Our research has helped to explain the higher rates of hypertension, as well as potential increases in deaths from stroke and heart disease, in the winter months,” said Dr Jivraj.

He put forth the notion that “indoor temperatures should be taken more seriously in diagnosis and treatment decisions”.

Dr Jivraj concluded: “Among other diet and lifestyle changes people can make to reduce high blood pressure, our findings suggest that keeping homes a bit warmer could also be beneficial.”

The effect of indoor temperature on blood pressure readings were mroe strongly associated for those who didn’t exercise regularly.

This suggests that people could mitigate the damaging effects of living in a cooler environment by exercising more.

In addition, exercising is greatly encouraged to help reduce blood pressure readings in the long term.

Co-author Hongde Zhao added: “We would suggest that clinicians take indoor temperature into consideration, as it could affect a diagnosis if someone has borderline hypertension.”

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