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Behind the Forecast: Can the weather impact your blood pressure?

Listen to Science Behind the Forecast with Meteorologist Tawana Andrew every Friday on 89.3 WFPL at 7:45 a.m.
Listen to Science Behind the Forecast with Meteorologist Tawana Andrew every Friday on 89.3 WFPL at 7:45 a.m.
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 8:23 AM EDT
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More aggressive blood pressure treatment could include more medication and a lifestyle change...
More aggressive blood pressure treatment could include more medication and a lifestyle change such as exercise, weight loss, low-fat diets, and no smoking. (Source: WALB)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The weather can affect your body in many ways, including influencing your blood pressure.

According to experts, our blood pressure is typically lower in the summer and higher in the winter. Colder temperatures can cause blood vessels to narrow, increasing blood pressure since more force is required to push blood through your smaller arteries and veins. Rapid changes in barometric pressure, humidity, wind, and even cloud cover can cause blood vessels to react and change your blood pressure; this is more likely in those over 65.

It’s not just the summer heat that can affect blood pressure but also humidity. Blood flows to the skin more on hot and humid days; this causes the heart to beat faster and circulate twice as much blood per minute than on a typical day, according to experts. Risks increase on days where temperatures rise above 70°F, and the humidity climbs over 70%.

Scientists also say that sweating and the heat can lower the amount of fluid in the body, reducing blood volume, and causing dehydration.

One study of 40,000 people found that seasonal changes can also directly impact someone’s blood pressure. Researchers found that blood pressure was better in the summer, regardless of someone’s location or the climate or altitude where they lived. Scientists believe that shorter days, weight gain, and reduced physical activity during the colder months can also affect blood pressure.

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