Posted on Mar 13, 2019, 4 p.m.
Keeping the thermostat on 72F/23C may not be the best for your electric/gas bill, but it may do wonders for your health, as a recent study from the University College London has found that cooler indoor temperatures are linked to higher blood pressure; as published in the Journal of Hypertension.
For indoor temperature the researchers determined for every single degree Celsius drop diastolic blood pressure jumps up about 0.45mmHg, and systolic blood pressure rises on average of 0.48 mmHg. Diastolic blood pressure means the pressure between beat; and systolic blood pressure means the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart beats; a blood pressure under 120/80 mmHg is considered normal.
Subject data was analyzed from 4,658 people who had participated in the Health Survey England; subjects filled out questionnaires on lifestyle choices and general health, and nurses conducted followed up visits to participants in their homes to measure blood pressure and take indoor temperature readings. The average blood pressure for participants in the coolest homes was found to be 126.64/74.52; and those in the warmest homes had an average blood pressure of 121.12/70.51 mmHg.
To identify independent associations between indoor temperature and blood pressure other factors such as outdoor temperature and social deprivation were taken into account; effects were more notable in those who were less physically active. An exact temperature for being warm enough was not pinpointed, however 70F/21C is suggested to be ideal. Findings may be important when treating patients at risk for high blood pressure.
“This work may help to explain higher rates of hypertension, and potential increases in death due to strokes and heart disease in the winter months.” Indoor temperatures are suggested to be taken into consideration in diagnosis, treatment decisions, and in public health messages. Dr. Stephen Jivraj says, “Among diet and other lifestyle changes people can make to reduce high blood pressure these findings suggest keeping homes a bit warmer may be beneficial.” Hongde Zhao adds, “...taking indoor temperature into consideration could affect diagnosis with someone who has borderline hypertension, and those in cooler homes may need higher doses of medications…”
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