Blood Pressure: Is It Affected By Cold Weather?
As the temperature is cooling around us, it is affecting our body in various ways. The cold winds are making our skin dry, lips chapped and causing us to shiver. But do you know that winters can also cause our blood pressure to increase?
Whenever our body is exposed to cold, it works towards retaining as much heat as it can. In this process, our blood vessels constrict to maintain the temperature of our body and hold in the heat. Since the vessels are constricted, blood is pumped at a higher pressure to reach our organs. This causes an increase in blood pressure.
We also tend to become lazy during winters, limiting our physical activity and rarely indulging in any exercise. A sedentary lifestyle, again, leads to high blood pressure.
All these factors put people already suffering from hypertension at a higher risk.
So what can be done to control our BP and make sure it remains within the normal range when temperatures go down? Let’s find out!
1) Minimise outdoor activity:
Minimise the time you spend outdoors. Exposing your body to cold weather will only shoot up your BP. Stay indoors in warmer temperatures. If you do have to venture out, try to go when the sun is still up and it’s not too cold.
2) Keep yourself warm:
Make sure you are wearing layers of warm clothes. Don’t stick to wearing just one sweater or jacket. Air trapped between layers of clothes is an excellent insulator and will stop the cold from reaching your body.
3) Always wear a cap:
Keeping your head warm is as important as keeping the rest of your body warm. When your head is subjected to the cold weather, it can lead to headaches which will again cause your BP to shoot up.
4) Cover your extremities:
Your hands and feet are the very ends of your body. Hypothermia is most likely, to begin with, the tips of your toes and fingers. So always wear gloves and socks to keep yourself warm.
5) Avoid alcohol and caffeine:
Drinks like alcohol caffeine can make you feel warm instantly. But they lower your core body temperature and cause your blood vessels to constrict. This again increases your blood pressure. Switch to healthier alternatives like soups to get the warmth in place of coffee and alcohol.
6) Exercise indoors:
Limiting your activity outside does not mean limiting your activity altogether. Make sure that you workout indoors. This will increase blood circulation throughout the body as well as maintain your core body temperature.
7) Have a wholesome diet:
We tend to drift towards comfort foods during winters which are generally high in fats. Try to have a wholesome meal which has low fat and sodium. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Swap processed foods like bread with whole grains and low-fat dairy.
Your blood pressure is affected by various factors, the season is one of them. By keeping a check on factors under your control like diet and lifestyle modification, you can easily manage hypertension and enjoy winters to its fullest.