SRINAGAR — With the continuous dip in temperatures to sub-freezing levels in Kashmir valley, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said the chilly weather of winter puts people at greater risk of high blood pressure.
“Falling temperatures in winter causes a hike in blood pressure which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, the two leading causes of death and disability in the valley,” said DAK President Dr. Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said high blood pressure, also called hypertension, is harder to control in winter. “Even healthy people aren’t off the hook. They tend to have high blood pressure in winter.”
“When winter arrives and temperatures drop, there is one place where the mercury rises, that is in the blood pressure gauges,” he said.
The DAK President said frigid temperatures constrict blood vessels which increases blood pressure because more pressure is needed to force blood through narrowed vessels. “Hormones, like adrenaline and nor-adrenaline increase in response to cold, and these cause spike in blood pressure,” he said adding, “Lack of sunlight during winter reduces vitamin D levels which increases blood pressure.”
He said people are sedentary in winter, staying inside and eating more which causes weight gain and contributes to hypertension. “While we can’t change the weather, simple precautions can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure in winter. Keep yourself warm to prevent cold temperatures. If you move out, dress in layers, wear a hat, gloves, and scarf. Avoid going in the chill for a walk and move your workout inside. Reduce salt intake and take a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. And, don’t forget to take your vitamin D,” advised Dr Nisar.
“People who are on treatment for high blood pressure need to monitor their blood pressure more frequently during winter as they may need an increase in doses or addition of drugs to keep their blood pressure under control,” he said.