Blood pressure is a key indicator of heart health, but new research suggests that just checking it while you’re sitting might not be enough. Usually, doctors measure your blood pressure when you’re seated.
But a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2023 found that you could be at risk for heart problems even if your blood pressure only spikes when you’re lying flat on your back.
The way our body handles blood pressure can change depending on whether we are sitting, standing, or lying down.
Sometimes our bodies don’t adjust blood pressure well in these different positions, which could put us at risk for heart issues.
What The Study Found
Led by Duc M. Giao, a medical student at Harvard Medical School, the researchers looked at health data from over 11,000 adults.
These people had their blood pressure checked while lying down at a clinic between 1987 and 1989 and were followed up for almost three decades.
Here’s what the study uncovered:
16% of participants had high blood pressure while lying down, even though their seated blood pressure was normal.
Those with high blood pressure in both sitting and lying-down positions were more likely to suffer from heart-related problems like coronary heart disease, heart failure, and stroke. They also had a higher risk of dying prematurely.
Surprisingly, people with high blood pressure only while lying down had similar elevated risks.
In simpler terms, having high blood pressure while lying down, whether or not you also have it while seated, increases your chances of heart issues and even early death.
Why This Matters to You
So what does this mean for the average person? Giao suggests that if you’re already at risk for heart disease or stroke, it might be a good idea to get your blood pressure checked in different positions, not just while sitting.
Managing your blood pressure during daily activities might even help control it while you’re sleeping.
This could be particularly useful since our study showed that different body positions can result in different blood pressure readings and risks.
The study’s findings are especially relevant for middle-aged adults, as they were the focus of this research. Future studies might look at how these findings relate to older populations.
In a nutshell, this study tells us that the traditional way of checking blood pressure might not give us the full picture of our heart health.
Including a “lying-down” blood pressure check could be a simple yet lifesaving addition to routine medical visits.
If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about food that could help control blood pressure and blood sugar, and bottom blood pressure number can tell your dementia risk.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about inflammation drug that may increase your blood pressure, and results showing the key to treating high blood pressure.
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