Cold Weather Bad for Blood Pressure

Cold Weather Bad for Blood Pressure

Reported January 16, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Chilly weather may give you more than just the shivers. New research suggests it may be responsible for increased blood pressure in a certain demographic.

Outdoor temperate and blood pressure appear to be correlated in the elderly, according to a new study from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Récherche Médicale in Paris. Seasonal variations in blood pressure had been reported on in previous studies, however this study was the first to look specifically at older people.

“Elderly persons may be particularly susceptible to temperature-related variations in blood pressure,” study authors were quoted as saying.

Researchers assessed the relationship blood pressure and temperature in 8,801 individuals age 65 and older. Blood pressure readings were taken twice, two years apart and outdoor temperatures from local meteorological offices were obtained to match the day each patient was tested.



Both systolic (top-number) and diastolic (bottom-number) blood pressures differed across the four seasons and across the distributions of outdoor temperatures. Average systolic blood pressure was five millimeters of mercury higher in winter than in summer. High blood pressure — defined as a systolic blood pressure of 160 millimeters of mercury or higher, or a diastolic blood pressure of 95 millimeters of mercury or higher — was detected in 33.4 percent of participants during winter and 23.8 percent during summer.

Although our study does not demonstrate a causal link between blood pressure and external temperature, the observed relationship nevertheless has potentially important consequences for blood pressure management in the elderly,” study authors wrote.

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2009;169:75-80