A recent study published by University College London (UCL) has added another risk factor to blood pressure and hypertension: temperature. The study, posted in the Journal of Hypertension, has found that a colder home temperature may lead to higher blood pressure and might perhaps be a risk factor for hypertension.
Earlier research has linked temperature to blood pressure and hypertension before, however, there has never been concrete evidence until now. The most recent study was carried out on a large scale in the UK, where researchers took data from the Health Survey for England 2014 first in order to investigate. This included information from 4,659 individuals aged 16 or above.
Next, each participant in the actual study was given a questionnaire to assess their lifestyle. The participants were then visited by a nurse who measured the temperature in their living room and checked their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. According to health standards, the blood pressure should be between 90/60 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and 120/80 mmHg.
The results were quite interesting. They found that for every 1-degrees Centigrade decrease in temperature, the systolic blood pressure would increase by 0.48 mmHg and the diastolic blood pressure would rise by 0.45 mmHg. The average systolic blood pressure for people living in cooler homes was 126.64 and the average diastolic for these people was 74.52. In the warmest homes, the averages were 121.12 mmHg and 70.51 mmHg, respectively.
The results are quite significant because it helps us understand blood pressure more. It’s something that affects over 100 million adults in the United States alone, it’s quite a serious matter. Another interesting thing noted in the study was that the people whose blood pressure was most affected by temperature were those who did not exercise regularly. Therefore, the evidence suggests that the negative effects of cool temperature can be overcome by being more active.
Senior study author Dr. Stephen Jivraj, from UCL‘s Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care, explains.
“Our research,” he says, “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, suggesting indoor temperatures should be taken more seriously in diagnosis and treatment decisions, and in public health messages.”
The new findings could help doctors advise patients more accurately, believe the researchers. Study co-author Hongde Zhao says:
“We would suggest that clinicians take indoor temperature into consideration, as it could affect a diagnosis if someone has borderline hypertension, and people with cooler homes may also need higher doses of medications.”
Given that hypertension can lead to serious problems like heart attack or a stroke or the fact that blood pressure is highly prevalent in today’s society, it is very important to conduct research on them to understand why and how they occur so as to figure out ways to avoid them.
There are plenty of risk factors involved when it comes to blood pressure and hypertension which are already known. However, it’s highly possible that there are several more risk factors high blood pressure that we may not yet know of. The recent study by researchers in the UK is a step in the right direction in figuring out factors that lead to high blood pressure.
The new findings will without a doubt help doctors in better diagnosing and helping their patients as they now know about an added factor for blood pressure. Another question that pops up after the study is “what is the optimal temperature then?” Although there may be no clear-cut answer for this question yet, the author of the journal suggests that it should at least be 21-degrees Centigrade.