Blood pressure varies throughout the day. It can be affected by the foods you eat, how active you are, and emotional stress. High blood pressure or hypertension is a leading cause of stroke, cardiac arrest, heart conditions, blood vessel problems, and aneurysm formation.
Of those being treated for hypertension, 50% still have morning high blood pressure. So why is blood pressure higher in the morning?
When the heart pumps blood into the vessels, the pressure on the vessel walls is measured. The top number is known as systolic blood pressure. This measures the pressure that occurs when the heart is contracted. The bottom number is called diastolic blood pressure and measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart is at rest or relaxed.
Blood pressure can be elevated when the heart beats faster or if the blood vessels constrict or become narrowed. Those with the arterial disease may have higher blood pressure because of this narrowing.
Our body has a 24-hour sleep/wake cycle called a circadian rhythm. During periods of sleep, the blood pressure is lowest. As we near the time to wake up, hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline are released by the adrenal glands. This causes a boost of energy, increasing blood pressure. The effects causing high blood pressure commonly occur between the hours of 6 am to noon.
Some are given medications to control blood pressure called antihypertensives. Morning hypertension can still occur while taking medication for these reasons:
Factors that increase morning hypertension are the same factors that cause all elevations in blood pressure. Modifiable lifestyle factors include:
Lead a healthy lifestyle by:
Antihypertensive medications can be used in a variety of ways to control morning hypertension. Some may need to take medication at bedtime to control the morning spike in blood pressure. Others may need to take a lower dose twice a day, once in the morning and once at bedtime. If your blood pressure continues to be high in the morning hours, talk to your doctor before making changes to your medication regimen.
Blood pressure that is significantly elevated in the morning can be a sign that you are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Monitoring morning blood pressure can help avoid or minimize the consequences along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Blood pressure control is vital for minimizing the risk of several cardiac conditions.
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Christine Kijek is a colorectal nurse at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, CT. She has a wealth of knowledge in this field as well as personal experience. HPFY is thrilled that she has been ...
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