Cold weather may present challenges for treating high blood pressure

Blood pressure among patients diagnosed with high blood pressure appears to rise slightly, and the rates of systolic blood pressure, or top number, controlled during an outpatient visit appear to decrease slightly during the winter months, according to a new study to be presented in High American Heart Association Blood Pressure. Scientific Sessions 2023, held September 7-10, 2023 in Boston. This meeting is a pioneering scientific exchange focusing on recent advances in basic and clinical research on high blood pressure and its relationship to heart and kidney disease, stroke, obesity, and genetics.

According to the American Heart Association’s 2023 Statistical Update, nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Previous research found that blood pressure varies depending on the seasons of the year. Most of this difference is in systolic blood pressure – the top number in a blood pressure reading that measures the pressure in/against blood vessels during a heartbeat. The study authors sought to understand whether blood pressure control, defined in this study as less than 140/90 mm Hg among patients with high blood pressure, varies by season.

“Although there was a lower degree of variance in systolic blood pressure compared to previous studies on seasonality in blood pressure, we were surprised to note a significant degree of change in blood pressure control between the winter and summer months,” said Robert Barrett, lead author of the study. , a software engineer at the American Medical Association in Greenville, South Carolina. “Individuals with high blood pressure or values ​​close to the hypertensive range may benefit from periodic monitoring of blood pressure and improved physical activity and dietary patterns during the winter months to offset the adverse effects of seasonal changes in blood pressure.”

The researchers reviewed the electronic health records of 60,676 adults treated for high blood pressure between July 2018 and June 2023 at six health care centers. Each participant remained on their originally prescribed classes of antihypertensive medication throughout the review period. Primarily in the Southeast and Midwest regions, the centers ranged from small, federally funded, nonprofit health centers or clinics to large academic medical centers. Seasonal blood pressure readings were analyzed to evaluate differences in blood pressure control during the winter versus summer months (December to February versus June to August, respectively) as part of a quality improvement program supported by the American Medical Association of Physicians and Health. Care centers. The average age of study participants was 62 years; 52.3% identified as white; 59.7% identified as female.

An analysis of health records found that participants’ systolic blood pressure rose on average by as much as 1.7 mm Hg in the winter months compared to the summer months. In addition, they found that blood pressure control rates decreased by up to 5% during the winter months.

The researchers noted that future directions of investigation may include analyzing the frequency of heart disease and mortality during each season.

Study limitations include that the electronic health records did not record each participant’s complete health history and that the information collected for each patient was only retrieved from the institution where they were treated.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *