Does your blood pressure drop before bedtime?
About 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, and roughly seven out of 10 of them take medication to control their condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When you take your blood pressure medicine matters, too, and you may achieve better health if you take it later in the day.
Research published in the European Heart Journal suggests that taking anti-hypertension medication before bed better controls blood pressure and gives people a much lower risk of death or illness from heart problems compared to people who took their medication in the morning.
Tracked for more than six years, participants who took medication at night had their chances of dying from heart issues cut in half, as well as their risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.
“High blood pressure is a silent killer for a reason,” says Dr. Arshad Jahangir, an electrophysiologist based at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wis. “Most people aren’t aware they have it, and those who do are at risk for serious, life-threatening health problems.”
Lots of medications are commonly recommended to be taken in the morning, because blood pressure tends to dip during sleep. But that dip doesn’t happen at night for everyone. And if you have severe hypertension, not having that blood pressure drop during sleep can be dangerous. Taking blood pressure medication at night rather than the morning could manage blood pressure better and help your body’s natural cycle occur.
The study did not include high-risk patients nor look at specific drugs. While future research will reveal what this means across age, gender and geography, Dr. Jahangir says the results of this study are too big to ignore.
“Taking medication at night can better control and manage nocturnal blood pressure, which can lead to better patient outcomes,” Dr. Jahangir says. “As always, it’s best for patients to talk with their physician before making any changes to their medication schedule and to learn and understand the best, most effective ways to treat their high blood pressure.”
About the Author
Matt Queen, health enews contributor, is a communication coordinator at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. He is a former TV sports anchor and journalist with extensive public relations experience across the health care spectrum. Outside of work, Matt enjoys watching sports (of course), cooking, gardening, golfing and spending time with his wife and two young children.