The researchers have found that a lower indoor temperature is associated with high blood pressure.
A new study published in the Journal of Hypertension finds that turning up the thermostat in your room might help in the management of Hypertension.
The study, conducted by Stephen Jivraj, UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care, found a link between indoor temperatures and high blood pressure and demonstrated that lower indoor temperatures were associated with higher BP through comparing blood pressure readings of people in their own homes with temperature readings.
“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 Dr. Jivraj.
“Among other diet and lifestyle changes people can make to reduce high BP, our findings suggest that keeping homes a bit warmer could also be beneficial,” he added.
The research team identified study subjects using Health Survey for England data, initially interviewing them with a questionnaire covering general health and lifestyle factors. Afterward, nurses followed up by visiting 4,659 participants in their homes, to measure their blood pressure and to take an indoor temperature reading in their living room.
The researchers accounted for potential confounding factors such as social deprivation and outdoor temperature to identify an independent association with indoor temperature.
- Every 1°C decrease in indoor temperature was associated with rises of 0.48 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 0.45 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.
- Average systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP) 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 magnitude of the association of indoor temperature with DBP and SBP was modified by physical activity.
- 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.
Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg, as per NHS guidelines. 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.
“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,” said co-author Hongde Zhao (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care).
“Our findings suggest that adequately heating homes during the winter months could help reduce the winter increases in hypertension and associated cardiovascular risks, particularly among those at heightened risk of high blood pressure such as older adults or people with a family history of hypertension,” write the authors.
While the study did not identify a threshold for a warm enough home, the researchers suggest that keeping living rooms to at least 21°C could be advisable for general health.
For more information log on to 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001924
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