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[December 2017] How to Keep Your Blood Pressure under Control in the Winter Season
Date 12-05-2017 10:16 Hit199


How to Keep Your Blood Pressure under Control in the Winter Season

A freezing winter season is just around the corner with the temperature dropping day after day. It is known that the mortality rate of patients with hypertension in the winter season is 30% higher than in the summer season, so efforts should be made to maintain the proper body temperature and blood pressure. The dropping temperature disturbs the arterial blood vessels and destroys the balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves that control the function of the blood vessels, which cause an excessive contraction of blood vessels and an increased blood pressure. Let us determine the criteria for a normal blood pressure and hypertension and the ways to avoid a rise in blood pressure in the winter season.

Criteria for Normal Blood Pressure and Hypertension (The Korean Society of Hypertension)

  Systolic pressure (mmHg) Diastolic pressure (mmHg)
Normal Under 120 Under 80
Prehypertension 120–140 80–90
Hypertension  Over 140 Over 90

How to prevent a rise in blood pressure

- Wearing a hat and cotton underwear. It is important to keep your head warm with a hat when you are in the open air because most of your body heat is lost through your head. If you wear a muffler, your body temperature can be increased by more than 2°C, reducing the risk of blood pressure rise. You may sweat a little because you are bundled up. In this case, you should wear cotton underwear as it effectively absorbs sweat. When sweat evaporates from your body, your body temperature drops, preventing your blood pressure from rising.

- Regular exercise that focuses on the lower body. If you work out on a regular basis, the blood flows to every part of your body, delivering oxygen to moving muscles and increasing your body temperature, which in turn lowers your blood pressure. Nitric oxide in the vascular endothelial cells also causes the blood vessels to expand, lowering the blood pressure. To achieve the desired outcome, you should exercise five times a week at more than 30 min a day. As approximately 70% of the body muscles is found in the lower body, activities such as riding a bicycle, walking up stairs, etc., are recommended to strengthen lower body muscles.

- Take a bath with lukewarm water under 40°C. If you have a hot bath on a cold day, your body temperature will increase. However, when you get out of the bathroom, your body will lose much heat because of the cold air, sharply raising your blood pressure. To avoid such thing from happening, if you bathe in water with over 40°C temperature, you should shower with lukewarm water to cool down a bit before you leave the bathroom.

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