According to a recent study, one can manage hypertension by turning up the thermostat. Comparing blood pressure readings of people in their own homes with temperature readings, the researchers at University College London found that lower indoor temperatures were linked to higher blood pressure.
“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, suggesting indoor temperatures should be taken more seriously in diagnosis and treatment decisions, and in public health messages,” said senior author Dr Stephen Jivraj.
“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,” he added.
The researchers found that every one degree Celsius decrease in indoor temperature was associated with a rise of 0.48 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 0.45 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.
Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. Blood pressure readings consist of two figures given together: systolic pressure, the force of the heart’s contraction, and diastolic pressure, the resistance in the blood vessels.
The research team found that average systolic and diastolic blood pressure were 126.64 mmHg and 74.52 mmHg, respectively, for people in the coolest homes in the study, compared with 121.12 mmHg and 70.51 mmHg, respectively, in the warmest homes.
The research team found the effect of indoor temperature on blood pressure was stronger among people who do not exercise regularly, suggesting that physical activity could mitigate the risk of living in a cool environment and that people who do not exercise need to keep warmer to manage their blood pressure.