You must have seen people complaining about various health problems like asthma, arthritis, and cold. Why? Because no matter how soothing cold weather feels, the effects of cold weather on the human body are not pleasing. It weakens your immune systems and increases blood pressure levels. 

Your health is more at risk during cold weather because you spend most of your time indoors and restrict physical activities. Additionally, the food items we consume during cold weather contain a lot of salt, sugar and oil to retain heat and maintain body temperature. These lifestyle habits are the risk factors for Hypertension that hamper blood flow, leading to increased blood pressure levels. Both healthy and hypertensive people experience a rise in their BP levels during cold weather.

Let’s understand why this happens and how cold weather affects your health in detail. 

How has hypertension become a common health concern in India?

In India, Hypertension and heart diseases are among the leading causes of death. More than 25% of people die due to these diseases. This is because of the fact that around 70% of people in India are unaware that they have Hypertension. They overlook the signs of high blood pressure like headaches, breathlessness and sweating, thinking it is nothing to worry about. This lack of awareness and diagnosis has resulted in deaths of heart diseases like heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, which could have been easily prevented.

Why does chilly weather increase blood pressure levels?

Temperature drops restrict blood flow to maintain temperature and retain heat, increasing blood pressure. 

The reason behind increased BP levels in cold weather is our dietary and lifestyle choices. The body’s demand to generate heat rises during cold weather, which makes us crave junk food and binge eating. As a result, we consume more calories and spending most of our time indoors also limits our physical activity.

Such a lifestyle hampers our health, leading to weight gain and an increase in bad cholesterol and lipid levels. This situation makes the heart work harder to pump the blood to ensure proper blood circulation throughout the body. 

People who are healthy can easily tolerate and adjust to the change in weather. But people who are hypertensive or battling some heart condition cannot. Their condition worsens as the temperature decreases, which needs immediate medical attention.

How to deal with or avert a rise in blood pressure levels?

There is nothing we can do about changing weather conditions, but we can tweak our diet and lifestyle habits to adjust to the changing weather conditions.  Here are some diet and lifestyle tips to manage hypertension during cold weather.

  • Avoid having food items such as alcohol and caffeine that are known to  increase body heat 
  • Bundle up to ensure less skin exposure during cold days
  • Eat balanced meals that give your body all the essential nutrients and lower blood pressure.
  • Stay active by exercising regularly but avoid overexertion as it will cause a sudden spike in your BP levels
  • Try to stay indoors during extremely cold conditions as it causes your heart to work harder 

A little change goes a long way!

Your body reacts to every season differently. Therefore, changing your routine and tweaking your lifestyle every season is necessary. It not only helps you keep your blood pressure level in check but also keeps you in the best health. Consult a doctor immediately if you observe any change in your blood pressure levels to reduce further heart risks.