In a recent study, researchers found that taking blood pressure drugs at bedtime instead of in the morning could reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by 61%.
This study was done by Spanish chronobiologists and it suggests that the timing of taking blood pressures may have a big impact on patients’ health.
However, this result has not been confirmed by further work.
In a new study from the University of Alberta, researchers are trying to examine if taking your blood pressure medication at bedtime can lengthen lifespan.
The researchers suggest that if the previous finding is true, the strategy would extend people’s life expectancy by 5.5 years.
They are conducting a large study in Western Canada that aims to answer the question: when is the best time to take blood pressure medication?
The study so far has recruited 947 patients with the help of 155 family physicians. Their goal is to recruit 8,750 participants from Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba.
So why timing may matter?
The researchers suggest that blood pressure medication is often prescribed for daytime use because blood pressure is higher during the day and lower at night.
Doctors believe that the medication can combat high blood pressure while the person is active.
But it is also possible that taking the medication at night preferentially lowers bedtime blood pressure and creates a more normal rhythm.
This may reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
However, the team also suggests that taking blood pressure drugs at night may bring some health risks.
One risk is visual changes. If patients have glaucoma, and if they also have lower than normal blood pressure during sleep, their vision deteriorates more quickly.
Another risk is falls and fractures. Older adults who get up in the middle of the night may experience dizziness due to lower than usual blood pressure. They may have a higher risk of falling and have a fracture.
A third risk is dementia. The team said that this concern is pure speculation. The relationship between blood pressure and dementia is highly complex.
The team suggests that patients need to consult with their doctor before changing their way of taking any medication.
One researcher of the study is Scott Garrison, an associate professor in’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.
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