The great outdoors can be enjoyed in the summer, but for certain people, the heat can pose serious health risks. Whether the summer heat impacts blood pressure is one subject that frequently arises.
What is Normal Blood Pressure?
Let’s quickly recap how blood pressure functions before we explore how the summer heat affects blood pressure. As the heart pumps blood throughout the body, blood presses against the artery walls, creating blood pressure. A measurement of 120/80 mmHg or less is considered to be normal, though this can change depending on age, health, and other variables.
How Does Summer Heat Affect Blood Pressure?
There are several ways that summer heat can affect blood pressure:
- Dehydration: You might sweat more than normal when you’re outside in the summer heat, which might cause dehydration. Dehydration makes the blood thicker and more difficult to pump, which can raise blood pressure.
- Vasodilation: The body’s blood vessels may broaden or dilate in response to heat, which can drop blood pressure. Although typically fleeting, this effect might not be strong enough to significantly lower blood pressure.
- Salt intake: In the summer months, people may consume more salty foods, such as potato chips and pretzels, which can increase blood pressure.
- Medication: The summer heat may reduce the efficacy of several blood pressure drugs. Diuretics, for instance, which are frequently used to lower blood pressure, can lead to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration, both of which are accelerated by hot weather.
What Can You Do to Manage Blood Pressure in the Summer?
If you have high blood pressure or are concerned about the effects of summer heat on your blood pressure, there are several things you can do to manage your health:
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary or alcoholic beverages, which can dehydrate the body.
- Stay cool: As much as possible, stay within air-conditioned structures and stay inside during the hottest times of the day.
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing: Wearing light-colored clothing can help you stay cool by reflecting sunlight.
- Avoid salty foods: Try to limit your intake of salty foods and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
- Take medication as prescribed: If you are taking medication to control your blood pressure, make sure you take it as directed and discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor.
The summertime heat can have an impact on blood pressure, but these effects are often small and can be controlled with a lifestyle change. During the summer, you need to maintain a healthy blood pressure level by staying hydrated, keeping cool, and avoiding salty meals. Talk to your doctor if you are worried about your blood pressure.