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Avoid Winter BP Spike: 13 Expert Tips on How to Control High BP in Winters

HealthcareOnTime Team 2023-11-20 2023-11-21 3 Min Read
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  • how to control high blood pressure in winter

    Recent studies have indicated that people with hypertension are at risk of seeing elevated blood pressure readings during the winter months. This can be a cause for worry, especially for people who have other comorbidities. It’s important to understand the causal factors to prevent high blood pressure in winter. You can then learn how to control high blood pressure in winter and what preventive steps to take. 

    Why Does Your Blood Pressure Rise During Winter?

    In study 1, researchers found that systolic blood pressure (the top number in the reading) increases by an average of up to 1.7 mm Hg during winter. The researchers also noticed that people’s efforts to control and manage their blood pressure levels lowered by 5% in the winter, as compared to during the summer months. 

    While this particular study did not indicate the exact consequences of these fluctuations in blood pressure readings, earlier research indicated that changes in blood pressure could, in fact, increase the risk of stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and other medical complications. It is also noted that when blood pressure readings rise during the winter, there is a potential risk of kidney damage. 

    But why does BP increase in winter? Let’s take a look:

    • Constriction of blood vessels: Experts are of the opinion that changes in blood pressure readings may be due to the impact of cold weather on blood vessels. Exposure to dropping temperatures can cause our blood vessels to constrict. This, in turn, increases blood pressure levels. 
    • Sympathetic nervous system activation: Doctors also believe that cold weather may activate your sympathetic nervous system. This could cause the body to release increased catecholamines 2 (like, for instance, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine). These substances, once released, cause blood vessels to constrict, which, in turn, leads to higher blood pressure levels.
    • Decrease of vitamin D absorption: During the winter months, most people also experience decreased vitamin D levels. This, in turn, causes an activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system 3 (RAAS). Elevated RAAS could cause changes in blood pressure levels, systemic vascular resistance, and fluid and electrolyte balance.
    • Lifestyle factors: A person’s lifestyle and habits can also significantly affect their blood pressure readings. Most people exercise less often due to the cold and eat less nutritient rich superfoods. This could increase blood pressure levels. 

    Read More: Foods to Boost Your Vitamin D Levels This Winter Season

    Did you know: 

    • More than 100 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension)

    Who Is Most Susceptible to Elevated Blood Pressure Readings in Winter?

    Does blood pressure increase in winter? Yes, but not universally. During the cold months, some groups are at an increased risk of having high blood pressure readings. The individuals most at risk of high blood pressure in winter are as follows:

    • Elderly: People 65 years and older are at risk of increased blood pressure because their blood vessels tend to be less flexible. This makes it more challenging to regulate blood pressure levels. 
    • People with comorbidities: People with pre-existing health conditions are at a higher risk of increased blood pressure levels during the winter months. 
    • People who lead sedentary lives: People who don’t exercise too often and don’t prioritize healthy eating may be at risk of having higher blood pressure levels, especially if they are already diagnosed with hypertension. 

    If you fall into any of the abovementioned groups, you must monitor your blood pressure readings to manage the condition better. 

    What are the Challenges of Treating High Blood Pressure During Winter?

    Managing high blood pressure during the winter can be difficult due to a variety of causes. Cold temperature causes blood vessels to contract, causing blood pressure to rise. Furthermore, decreased sweating causes blood volume and sodium retention, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure. Additionally, abrupt changes in weather patterns, such as a weather front or a storm, might have an effect on blood pressure. To help patients maintain their blood pressure over the winter, physicians may need to adjust medication dosages or propose lifestyle adjustments.

    What are the Potential Risks of Poor Blood Pressure Control During Winter?

    In the winter months, inadequate control of blood pressure in winter can give rise to various potential risks and complications, including:

    • Potential Kidney or Cardiac Damage: The elevated blood pressure levels observed in cold weather may heighten the vulnerability to kidney or cardiac damage 4
    • Risk of Severe Complications: Ineffectual blood pressure management can contribute to severe complications such as heart disease and strokes 5
    • Circulation Challenges: Individuals grappling with high blood pressure may encounter difficulties in blood circulation, amplifying the likelihood of cardiovascular diseases and other related complications
    • Impaired Blood Pressure Regulation: Seasonal fluctuations in blood pressure may compromise the control of hypertension in winters, typically defined as a blood pressure reading of less than 140/90 mm Hg[5].

    To mitigate these potential health hazards, it is crucial to consistently monitor blood pressure, adhere to prescribed medication regimens, and uphold healthy lifestyle practices. Physicians may find it necessary to adjust medication dosages or recommend lifestyle modifications to aid patients in effectively managing their blood pressure in winter season

    High BP Management: How to Control High Blood Pressure in Winter?

    If you’re worried about your BP in winter and want to know how to control bp in winter here are a few ways to manage your blood pressure levels better:

    Superfoods That Help Control High Blood Pressure In Winter 

    It is a known fact that lifestyle and dietary modification 6 can help reduce elevated blood pressure readings. Thus, here are a few superfoods you should consider including in your diet to manage hypertension:

    • Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits 7, are one of the winter superfoods, like oranges and lemons, can help reduce blood pressure levels.
    • Fatty fish: Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids 8 can help control bp in winter and increase heart health. These fats may also reduce inflammation levels. 
    • Leafy greens: Leafy greens like Spinach and Swiss chard have high levels of magnesium and potassium, which help control blood pressure levels in winter. A study 9 found that consuming potassium daily could help lower blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. 
    • Amaranth: Eating healthy whole grains like amaranth could help reduce blood pressure levels. Studies 10 have indicated that every 30-gram increase in the consumption of whole grains was linked to an 8% lowering of blood pressure levels. If you’re not too fond of amaranth, you can also eat quinoa, whole oats, brown rice, whole grain bread, and whole grain pasta.

    Read More: 9 Morning Drinks That Bring Down Blood Pressure Naturally

    Medical Treatments That Can Help Control High BP in Winters

    While consuming nutritious foods can help you manage your blood pressure levels, medical treatments can come in handy as well:

    • Use a home blood pressure reader: A home blood pressure reader can help you monitor your reading regularly. This can help detect any alarming changes quickly. Doing this during the winter is especially important since it could lower your complication risk. 
    • Report any changes to your doctor: If you notice any changes in your blood pressure readings or notice that your readings are consistently elevated, it’s a good idea to inform your doctor immediately. Your doctor might change your prescription or advise certain medical tests to be done. 
    • Take your medications: If your doctor has prescribed any medications, ensure you take them on time, as per the advised dosage. Ensure you don’t skip doses even if you feel fine and your reading is normal.

    Read More: Types of Tea You Should Drink to Lower Blood Pressure

    Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies to Control Blood Pressure in Winters

    If you’re considering how to control high blood pressure in winter, you need to familiarise yourself with lifestyle changes that can lower your blood pressure. These lifestyle alterations can help you keep your BP readings within the normal range: 

    • Exercise more often: Choose to exercise for at least 150 minutes per week to manage your blood pressure levels. If it’s too cold to exercise outside, you can opt for indoor exercising or walking around your house briskly. 
    • Watch your diet: Be mindful of what you eat, as your diet profoundly affects your blood pressure levels. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins in your daily diet and avoid processed, sodium-rich foods to control your blood pressure. Certain foods like spinach, methi, radish, and oranges can be beneficial for managing blood pressure during winter.
    • Limit sodium intake: High sodium may increase your risk for elevated blood pressure readings. Opt for neutrally-salted cooked foods and avoid packaged and processed foods as they are rich in salt. 
    • Check vitamin D levels: Lower vitamin D can adversely affect blood pressure readings. Try consuming vitamin D supplements, as your scope for sun exposure in the winter can be minimal. 
    • Quit smoking: Smoking is deemed a potent risk factor for hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. If you currently smoke, try to quit during the winter months. 
    • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for high blood pressure readings in winter. So, practice mindful eating and active lifestyle habits to manage your blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight.

    How to Prevent High Blood Pressure Levels During the Winter

    Now that you know why BP increases in the winter, let’s take a look at the various things you can do to prevent high blood pressure levels during the cold months:

    • Eat a healthy diet: As mentioned before, eating healthy meals and snacks helps you to avoid high blood pressure. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan and Mediterranean diet plan are advised for people at risk of developing hypertension. 
    • Limit your alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol consistently can increase your blood pressure reading. The maximum number of drinks that men should consume is 2. Women, on the other hand, should have no more than one drink. If you don’t consume alcoholic beverages, don’t start now. 
    • Get sufficient sleep: If you’re looking for how to control BP in winter through natural ways, don’t ignore the role of sleep. Quality sleep every night is essential to keeping your blood vessels and heart healthy. 
    • Manage stress: Long-term chronic stress can contribute to elevated blood pressure readings. So, before things become bad, look at your way of life and try to pinpoint the stressors. Then, look at what you can do to solve the stressors. Practice mindfulness and gratitude to reduce stress due to things you can’t control.

    What Should You Do If Your Blood Pressure Does Not Drop?

    Following good lifestyle habits, eating a healthy diet, and taking your medications on time should help control and manage your blood pressure. Despite adopting everything nothing works  it's advisable to seek a comprehensive health assessment or specific medical tests. This proactive approach can provide insights into potential underlying issues, allowing for targeted interventions to effectively manage and control your blood pressure. Regular book health check-ups help in identifying and addressing persistent hypertension.


    The information listed here is strictly for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. Do consult your physician for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. It’s not advised to disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information listed here. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.


    Ref Links: 


    How does indoor temperature affect blood pressure during winter?

    According to research, every 1°C decrease in indoor temperature was connected with a 0.48 mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure. A study collected data from indoor temperatures ranging from 3.3°C to 27.5°C and discovered that reducing indoor temperatures significantly increased systolic blood pressure. As a result, keeping a moderate home temperature is critical for managing blood pressure during the winter. 11

    what are some winter activities that can help prevent kidney or cardiac damage for people with high blood pressure

    Engaging in winter physical activities is vital for preventing kidney or cardiac damage in individuals with high blood pressure. Incorporate indoor exercises like circuit training, yoga, and cardio dance videos. When shoveling snow, use a small-bladed shovel, work slowly, and stay hydrated. Dress appropriately for the cold, wearing layers. Stay hydrated by consuming at least eight cups of water daily to prevent winter dehydration and elevated blood pressure

    What is the ideal indoor temperature for people with high blood pressure during winter

    The optimal indoor temperature for individuals with high blood pressure in winter lacks a specific threshold, but general guidelines can be followed. Research indicates that for every 1°C decrease in indoor temperature, systolic and diastolic blood pressure may increase by 0.48 mmHg and 0.45 mmHg, respectively. While a minimum of 21°C (69.8°F) is recommended, maintaining a temperature above 18°C (64.4°F) helps prevent significant blood pressure fluctuations. It is crucial to consider individual factors and consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable indoor temperature for one's specific health conditions. 12


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