Got hypertension? Better read this before bed
Study shows taking meds at night can reduce risk of heart attack.
A new study has found that changing the time when you take your blood pressure meds could significantly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Doctors currently rely on snapshots of blood pressure to make decisions, this may not be the best strategy.
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The volume of research is growing that suggests such medications are more effective when taken at night, prior to going to sleep, instead of in the morning. However, researchers warn that nobody should switch their medication schedule without first consulting a doctor.
It is understood, that heart attacks are more common in the morning then in the evening. What remains somewhat controversial, is the idea that blood pressure changes over the course of the day.
If blood pressure changes over the course of the day, the impact could be monumental. Typically, when patients visit the doctor their blood pressure is read. However, that reading is a single snapshot. Based on that snapshot, a doctor may prescribe, or not prescribe medications and treatment. If the snapshot happens to be inaccurate, then the treatment prescribed may not be as effective as it could be if the doctor had an accurate understanding of the individual's blood pressure history.
According to Michael Smolinsky, of the biomedical engineering department at the University of Texas at Austin, "mother nature had in mind that when we went to sleep at night our heart rate and blood pressure would decline." This decline is designed to give our cardiovascular system a rest. However he continues that people with high blood pressure are less likely to experience that rest, which puts them at greater risk of heart attack or stroke.
Doctors are beginning to realize that one of the best ways to treat hypertension is to simply get more sleep. In the United States, most Americans are sleep deprived which causes taxes the cardiovascular system harder as people put in more waking and working hours. However, changing the time that medication taken may be a cost free and effective way to counter that trend, at least in part.
Researchers in the study strongly emphasize that patients should be monitored for some time before treatment is administered. Again, they are stressing that the snapshot approach of evaluating hypertension is inadequate and are recommending at least 24-48 hours of continual monitoring before beginning a comprehensive program.
In the Spanish study, 661 patients were told to take their high blood pressure medication either upon awakening or at bedtime. The patients are tracked for an average of 5 1/2 years, and their blood pressure was monitored for 48 hours at a time at least once per year. The study found that those taking the medications just before bedtime experienced in a two-thirds reduction in complications from hypertension than those who took it upon awakening.
The studies were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Researchers say they will need further studies to confirm their findings.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: club pressure, hypertension, meds, medications, health care, heart disease, heart attack, stroke
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