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Why is Blood Pressure Higher in the Morning?

Why is Blood Pressure Higher in the Morning?
Christine Kijek

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?

What is blood pressure?

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.

What causes high blood pressure in the morning?

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:

  • Taking a medication that is low dose
  • Taking a short-acting mediation instead of long-acting
  • Taking a simple medication while needing a combination of medications

Risk factors for morning hypertension

Factors that increase morning hypertension are the same factors that cause all elevations in blood pressure. Modifiable lifestyle factors include:

  • Tobacco use
    • o Nicotine constricts the blood vessels
  • Alcohol use
  • Caffeine use
    • o Causes spikes in blood pressure
    • o A morning cup of coffee increases morning hypertension
  • Being aged 65 and over
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Work schedule
    • o Altered shift work confuses the circadian rhythm

Medical conditions that increase the risk for hypertension are:

  • Diabetes, type 1 and 2
  • High cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea
  • Adrenal tumors
    • Produce hormones that manage heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow
    • Over-production of hormones increases elevation in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Certain medications can temporarily increase blood pressure. If taken in the morning, they can lead to morning hypertension.
  • Corticosteroids
    • Used to treat asthma
    • Autoimmune conditions
    • Allergies
    • Skin issues
  • Decongestants
    • Those containing pseudoephedrine
 

Avoiding and/or controlling morning hypertension

Lead a healthy lifestyle by:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Minimizing caffeine intake
  • Taking blood pressure medication as ordered by your doctor
  • Monitoring blood pressure regularly, record and discuss findings with your doctor

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.

 

Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text, was created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

 


HPFY Christine Kijek

Christine Kijek

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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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