Winter chill puts people at greater risk of high blood pressure: DAK

Srinagar: As Kashmir valley is reeling under an intense cold wave with temperatures dipping below freezing point, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday said that the chill of winter puts people at greater risk of high blood pressure.
“Frigid temperatures cause a hike in blood pressure which increases the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“When winter arrives and temperature drops, there is one place where the mercury actually rises, that is in blood pressure gauges,” he said.
DAK President said high blood pressure is harder to control in winter. Even healthy people aren’t off the hook. They also tend to have high blood pressure in winter.
“Various studies have shown that winter brings elevated blood pressure in adults, children and elderly,” he said.
“In a study, blood pressure was found to be 30 mm Hg higher in winter than at other times.”
Dr Nisar said freezing temperatures constrict blood vessels which increases blood pressure because more pressure is needed to force blood through narrowed vessels.
“Hormones, like adrenaline increase in response to cold and they cause a spike in blood pressure,” he said adding “lack of sunlight during winter reduces vitamin D levels which increases blood pressure.”
“People are sedentary in winter, staying inside and eating more, that causes weight gain which contributes to high blood pressure,” Dr Nisar said.
“Far too many people don’t know that their blood pressure is high. We need to make sure that people know their number,” he said.
“Home measurement gives a more accurate picture of an individual’s blood pressure than reading in a medical setting or at a doctor’s clinic.”
“While we can’t change the weather, we can take precautions to manage our blood pressure in winter. Keep yourself warm to prevent cold temperatures. If you move out, dress in layers, wear a hat, gloves and scarf. Avoid going in the chill for a walk and move your workout inside. Reduce your salt intake, take a healthy diet and don’t forget to take your vitamin D. If you are on a blood pressure lowering pill take it regularly and at bedtime,” advised Dr Nisar.

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