Richard G. Petty, MD

Blood Pressure and the Seasons

High blood pressure may be more difficult to control in winter, according to research reported to the American Heart Association, at its meeting in Orlando last week.

A five-year study by a team from the United States found Department of Veterans Affairs analyzed data on 443,632 veterans treated for hypertension at 15 VA hospitals in cities throughout the US found that blood pressures during the summer were on average 7.76% lower than during the winter. The researchers found the same pattern emerged from each hospital they studied, regardless of whether it was based in a warm or cold climate, in locations that ranged from Anchorage, Alaska to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

This is an intriguing finding, and there are a load of potential explanations for it:
A more active summer lifestyle may be the key
It is also possible that people might eat more salty foods in winter, and salt is strongly linked to raised blood pressure
There may also be a link with sunlight. Which can trigger a number of metabolic changes

But I also need to sound a note of caution: blood pressure changes all the time throughout the day. Although the study was all done correctly, it is important to realize that many subtle variations in blood pressure could be lurking within the data.

Nonetheless, people should be aware of the possibility that their blood pressure may be harder to control in the winter, and to be more vigilant at this time.

“For everything there is a season, And a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to seek, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate, A time for war, and a time for peace.”
–The Bible, Ecclesiastes, 3:1-8

“Each new season grows from the leftovers from the past. That is the essence of change, and change is the basic law.”
–Hal Borland (American Writer, 1900-1978)

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet drink and botanical medicines.”
–Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist and Philosopher, 1817-1862)

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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