Can cold weather or seasonal changes in weather affect blood pressure?
Answer From Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
Blood pressure generally is higher in the winter and lower in the summer. That's because low temperatures cause blood vessels to temporarily narrow. More pressure is needed to force blood through narrowed veins and arteries. This causes blood pressure to rise.
Blood pressure also can be affected by a sudden change in weather patterns, such as a weather front or a storm. The body, including the blood vessels, might react to sudden changes in humidity, atmospheric pressure, cloud cover or wind in much the same way it reacts to cold. These weather-related changes in blood pressure are more common in people ages 65 and older.
If you have high blood pressure, note your blood pressure measurements as the seasons change. Seasonal causes of higher blood pressure include weight gain, salty foods often eaten during the holidays and decreased physical activity due to colder temperatures.
If you have questions about how weather may affect your blood pressure, ask your healthcare team. If you have changes in your blood pressure readings, tell your healthcare professional. You may need a new dose of blood pressure medicine or a different medicine. Don't change your medicines without talking to your healthcare team.
Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
Feb. 28, 2024
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