According to an article put out on WebMD Health News today - High Blood Pressure Climbs in Winter.
This article focus a 2 year study of over 8,800 adults over the age of 65 in France. They concluded that there was an average 5 point increase in systolic blood pressure in the winter than in the summer. Systolic blood pressure, the top number, is the peak pressure in the arteries when the ventricles are contracting. While diastolic, the bottom number, is defined as the minimum pressure in the arteries when the ventricles are filling. A normal blood pressure is less than120 / less than 80mmHg. Prehypertension values are 120-139/80-89, Stage 1 is defined as 140-159/90-99 and Stage 2 160+/100+, according to the American Heart Association.
The article also says that "blood pressure in elderly people varies significantly with the season, with rates of high blood pressure readings rising from 23.8% in summer to 33.4% in winter." What I want to know is what is causing the increase in blood pressure? It is just because it is cold outside or does it have something to do with people's lifestyles in the winter as compared to the summer? The research say "possible explanations of the cold weather effect include activation of the sympathetic nervous system and release of the hormone catecholamine, which may increase blood pressure by speeding the heart rate and decreasing the responsiveness of blood vessels." Ok maybe that is part of the cause, but I am still temped to wonder about how lifestyle changes effect blood pressure.
I do not know about you, but when it is cold outside I do not have a desire to go outside and exercise. The cold weather might be deterring these elderly people from getting out and about, therefore causing a slight increase in their blood pressure, with a decreased amount of movement. The fresh fruits and veggies that are ample in the summer months are not as plentiful or cost more money during the winter months. The increase in blood pressure might be due to a lot of different reasons, from physical and emotional to lifestyle changes that happen with cold weather. It is getting to the root cause of the increase in blood pressure that allow a naturopathic doctor to treat each patient as an individual and help them with whatever is ailing them. May your health be all the best in 2009.