Cool Indoor Temperatures Linked to High Blood Pressure


Source: University College London

Summary: According to the new study, the researchers found that lower indoor temperatures were associated with higher blood pressure.


Turning up the thermostat may help manage hypertension, finds a new study into the link between indoor temperatures and high 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. Previous research had suggested that indoor temperature is associated with blood pressure, but researchers lacked evidence on strength of the association because there are so few studies using nationally representative data. According to the new study, comparing blood pressure readings of people in their own homes with temperature readings, the researchers found that lower indoor temperatures were associated with higher blood pressure. The study findings were published in the Journal of Hypertension.

Hypertension

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The researchers found that 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. The research team identified study subjects using Health Survey for England data, initially interviewing them with a questionnaire covering general health and lifestyle factors. Afterwards, 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. They 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 researchers say their findings suggest that adequately heating homes during the winter months could help reduce the winter increases in hypertension and associated cardiovascular risks.

Co-author, Hongde Zhao said, “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.”


More Information: Hongde Zhao et al, ‘My blood pressure is low today, do you have the heating on? The association between indoor temperature and blood pressure’, Journal of Hypertension (2018). DOI: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001924


 

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