Throughout the day, blood pressure can vary depending on physical activity, what foods you eat and emotional stress. For some people unfortunately, their blood pressure is too high first thing in the morning. Known as morning high blood pressure, or morning hypertension, it has been found that this condition increases your risk of blood vessel and heart problems like stroke. Even if you have blood pressure that is very controlled, fifty percent still have morning blood pressure which is high.
What is the Cause?
When we first wake up, blood pressure rises because of the normal circadian rhythm of the body. This is a twenty-four hour cycle which affects our patterns of sleeping and waking. The body releases hormones in the morning, such as noradrenaline and adrenaline. These are what gives you a boost of energy, and they can also raise your blood pressure. The increase of your blood pressure in the morning can usually be seen between six and noon. If it goes too high, this can create effects that are harmful.
What Happens if You Have Morning Hypertension?
If you have hypertension, specifically morning hypertension, you have a stronger risk of stroke compared to others with hypertension but not in the morning.
High blood pressure is able to cause a stroke, or a sudden loss of brain function because of a lack of supply of blood to the brain. Morning hypertension can also raise your risk of other blood vessel and heart problems. Changes in your hearty’s size and rhythm have been associated with it, and this can lead to heart failure or a heart attack. Speak with your doctor right away if you go through any symptoms such as chest pain, severe headache or numbness in your arms or face.
Who is at Risk?
You could be at risk for morning hypertension because of these factors:
- Use of alcohol or tobacco
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes type 1 or 2
- Being over the age of sixty-five
- High cholesterol
How do You Know if You Have Morning Hypertension?
It is recommended by doctors that you monitor your blood pressure at home by using a home blood pressure monitor to help you know if you are at risk for morning hypertension. You can get one of these devices without a prescription at your pharmacy.
When you go to buy a blood pressure monitor for home, make sure to get the right size cuff which is the same as the thickness around your upper arm. If you use a cuff that is not the right size, this could cause you to get a wrong reading of your blood pressure. You also need to think about if you want a manual or automatic inflation cuff with the monitor.
How Can You Avoid or Control Morning Hypertension?
You can help protect yourself from morning hypertension by leading a healthy lifestyle which includes the avoidance of alcohol and tobacco, a healthy diet, plus regular exercise. Take any blood pressure medications as your doctor has prescribed and keep a record of blood pressure readings at home. These things can help prevent blood vessel or heart problems like stroke.