Blood pressure: Is it affected by cold weather?

Blood pressure generally is higher in the winter than in the summer. Discover why.

Question: Can cold weather or seasonal changes in weather affect blood pressure?

Answer Section

Blood pressure generally is higher in the winter and lower in the summer. That's because low temperatures cause blood vessels to temporarily narrow. This increases blood pressure because more pressure is needed to force blood through narrowed veins and arteries.

Blood pressure can also be affected by a sudden change in weather patterns, such as a weather front or a storm. A body — and blood vessels — might react to abrupt changes in humidity, atmospheric pressure, cloud cover or wind in much the same way it reacts to cold. These weather-related variations in blood pressure are more common in people ages 65 and older.

Other seasonal causes of higher blood pressure include the weight gain, salty foods often eaten during the holidays and decreased physical activity that are common in winter. If you have high blood pressure already, continue to monitor your blood pressure readings as the seasons change and talk to your health care provider.

Your provider might recommend changing the dose of blood pressure medication or switching to another medication. Don't make any changes to your medications without talking to your provider.

If you have questions about how weather may affect your blood pressure, ask your provider.

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