Blood pressure increase: The 11 most common causes of raised blood pressure in hot weather

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Blood pressure is subject to crests and troughs due to a myriad of factors. Chronic sufferers may question whether sweltering 28C highs could prevent them from enjoying time outdoors ahead of Freedom Day. But fear not, as has arrived with a selection of the most infamous blood pressure irritants.

What causes your blood pressure to rise?

Raised blood pressure is known in medical circles as hypertension, which specifies when levels of mercury breach “normal” systolic levels of less than 120mm Hg and less than 80mm Hg diastolic (120/80).

Health officials characterise “at-risk” levels as 120 to 139 mmHg over 80 to 89mm Hg (120-139/80-89).

Hypertension’s minimum limit is 140/90 or over and can come about due to several individual or interlocking factors and other conditions.

Factors that can push blood pressure include:

  • Being 65 or older
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking more than the recommended daily amount (RDA) of alcohol or caffeine-based beverages
  • Having relatives with high blood pressure
  • Not exercising enough
  • Living in a deprived area
  • Being of Black African or Caribbean descent
  • Sleep deprivation or poor quality rest
  • Not exercising enough
  • A salty diet without fruit or vegetables

Some medications have effects that may accelerate blood pressure levels in some people.

They include:

  • Some SNRI antidepressants – including milnacipran, duloxetine, desvenlafaxine, levomilnacipran or venlafaxine
  • Recreational drugs – including cocaine and amphetamines
  • Herbal remedies with a liquorice base
  • Over-the-counter cold and cough treatments
  • NSAIDs including ibuprofen
  • The contraceptive pill
  • Steroids

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According to the NHS, several conditions can also spike blood pressure.

These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Long-term kidney infections
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • An underactive thyroid
  • An overactive thyroid
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Acromegaly
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Phaeochromocytoma
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Narrowing of arteries supplying the kidneys
  • Scleroderma
  • Lupus

Does hot weather raise blood pressure levels?

Temperatures in the UK will spike towards 30C several times over the weekend and coming week, leaving hypertension sufferers concerned about potential effects on their health.

But extreme heat conditions tend not to affect blood pressure as they cause vasodilation, which broadens vessels and helps blood pass through the body.

In winter, the same vessels will narrow, and blood pressure is more liable to rise.

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