How Does Heat Affect Blood Pressure? - Baptist Health (2024)

December 02, 2022

How Does Heat Affect Blood Pressure? - Baptist Health (1)

Whether the temperatures are rising where you live or you’re taking a wintertime trip to a warmer climate, it’s important to understand the effect of heat on blood pressure. That way, you can take steps to help your body manage your blood pressure properly.

Heat and High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, warm temperatures can affect you in multiple ways. Blood pressure tends to be higher in cold weather due to the constriction of blood vessels as the body attempts to retain heat. The opposite is true in warm weather — blood pressure typically is lower.

That’s good if you have high blood pressure. However, there are also certain negative relationships between high temperatures and high blood pressure. For example, some hypertension medications increase sun sensitivity. As a result, you have a higher risk of sunburn and a condition called photosensitivity, which is a reaction that can cause skin blisters or a rash.

Also, you can experience dizziness, fainting, or falls if the heat-related lowering of your blood pressure happens too quickly.

Additional Cautions About High Blood Pressure and Hot Weather

If you have high blood pressure, you should also be aware that heat can cause other issues, particularly when combined with humidity above 70%. These symptoms develop because your body is working hard to cool itself through changes like increased blood flow to the skin and sweating.

These responses help you radiate more heat to the environment, reducing your body temperature. But it’s crucial to note that they also increase your risk of dehydration.

You should take action to cool yourself if you experience any of these signs:

  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating or notable lack of sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fast pulse
  • Cold, moist skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Swelling in your extremities

If you experience more than a few of them, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should also monitor loved ones for these symptoms, especially if they:

  • Are 50 or older
  • Are overweight
  • Have heart, lung, or kidney problems

Tips for Avoiding Issues with Blood Pressure and Hot Weather

If you’re vulnerable to high temperatures, you should take action to keep your body from overheating. That includes

  • Drinking plenty of hydrating fluids
  • Avoiding sun exposure, especially during the hottest part of the day
  • Having a healthy diet
  • Applying sunscreen
  • Avoiding strenuous activities
  • Easing into outdoor activities gradually
  • Wearing a breathable hat that shields your head from the sun but allows heat to escape

Talk with Your Doctor About High Temperatures and High Blood Pressure

Spending time outside on a warm, sunny day can be pleasant. But for people with high blood pressure and other health conditions, it can also be dangerous.

Be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from the adverse effects of hot weather and high humidity.

If you have questions about your heat-related health risks, your Baptist Health primary physician or heart care specialist is happy to answer them. If you don’t have a doctor, you can find one using our online provider directory.

Learn More.


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How Does Heat Affect Blood Pressure? - Baptist Health (2024)


How Does Heat Affect Blood Pressure? - Baptist Health? ›

Heat and High Blood Pressure

How does heat affect blood pressure? ›

In summer weather, blood pressure can be affected by the body's attempts to radiate heat. High temperatures and high humidity can cause more blood flow to the skin. This causes the heart to beat faster while circulating twice as much blood per minute than on a normal day.

How does hot weather affect low blood pressure? ›

The combination of fluid loss/dehydration from sweating, with lower blood pressure as a result of all those extra dilated blood vessels, can start to lead to more serious problems and can cause dizziness and fainting, or heat syncope.

How does hot weather affect blood? ›

When the body gets overheated, blood is directed away from the centre of the body by relaxation of the blood vessels, this causes sweating and cooling. Rapid dehydration may occur in hot dry conditions.

Does drinking water lower blood pressure? ›

And does dehydration cause high blood pressure? Drinking water can help normalize your blood pressure but doesn't necessarily lower your blood pressure unless you are dehydrated. Because your blood is made up of 90% water, the overall volume will decrease when you are dehydrated.

Should I stop taking blood pressure tablets in hot weather? ›

Dangers of Heat if You Are Taking Blood Pressure Medication

If you are taking medication to lower your blood pressure, soaring temperatures combined with the effects of your medication may cause your pressure to drop too low.

Does a heating pad raise blood pressure? ›

Decreased blood pressure.

Even after a single session of heat therapy, blood pressure will drop. Due to the sudden decrease in blood pressure, individuals who often experience orthostatic hypotension (dizziness or light-headedness upon standing) may find certain heat treatments problematic.

What is normal blood pressure in summer? ›

A measurement of 120/80 mmHg or less is considered to be normal, though this can change depending on age, health, and other variables.

How to bring down blood pressure quickly? ›

Tricks to Lower Blood Pressure Instantly
  1. Meditate or focus on deep breathing. Meditation and breathing exercises can help you relax, which slows your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure.
  2. Reduce your stress levels. ...
  3. Take a warm bath or shower.

What temperature is too hot for heart patients? ›

Temperatures exceeding 100°F or even temperatures in the 80s with high humidity can cause a dangerous heat index that can be hard on the heart. Heat and dehydration cause the heart to work harder, trying to cool itself by shifting blood from major organs to underneath the skin.

Can the sun raise your blood pressure? ›

Observational studies have demonstrated that higher levels of sun exposure considerably reduce blood pressure levels in human beings. However, the most recent risk factor for hypertension could be insufficient exposure to natural ultraviolet radiation or deliberate avoidance of sunlight.

Does your blood change in hot weather? ›

Thinner blood, however, “is absolutely a myth,” said Dr. Bruce Lenes, medical director of Community Blood Centers of South Florida, noting that blood thickness isn't influenced by temperature. He said people simply adjust – mentally and physically – to a new climate.

Why does the heat bother me as I get older? ›

Older bodies also hold more heat than younger ones when the temperature climbs. Glands don't release as much sweat. The heart doesn't circulate blood as well, so less heat is released from vessels in the skin. Systems from the cardiovascular to the immune struggle to compensate.

What drink at night lowers blood pressure? ›

The top drinks for lowering blood pressure include water, fruit juices (pomegranate, prune, cranberry, cherry), vegetable juice (tomato, raw beet), tea (black, green), and skim milk.

What should I do if my blood pressure is 160 over 100? ›

Combination drug therapy — If a person has very high blood pressure (eg, 160/100 mmHg or higher), then combination therapy with two drugs at the same time rather than monotherapy (treatment with a single medication) may be the initial step in blood pressure treatment.

Will a hot shower raise your blood pressure? ›

Taking a hot bath or shower for 15 minutes can help your mind and muscles relax. If you have access to a sauna or steam room, it can have the same effect. These heated environments help your blood vessels to dilate, or open up, which lowers your blood pressure.

Does sweating lower blood pressure? ›

In conclusion, exercise-induced sweating and consequent sodium and water loss appear to be a reliable biological link to the blood pressure-reducing effects of exercise in hypertensive individuals.

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