Studies look at causes of high blood pressure while sleeping

AVENTURA, Fla. – Researchers are learning more about a phenomenon called “nocturnal blood pressure,” a condition where some people experience a dangerous rise in blood pressure at a time when their bodies are supposed to be at rest.

“There’s always a question of sudden death at night, waking people up with heart attacks and we’ve never really understood this methodology, so this recent study showed even though most people at night, when your engine is off and you’re relaxing and taking it easy, blood pressure and pulse are low, but certain people have elevated blood pressure, which is recorded with ambulatory monitoring, and this is associated with sudden deaths and heart attacks occurring in the middle of the night,” said cardiologist Dr. Leonard Pianko.

He said researchers found that the root cause appears to be an interruption in the body’s natural circadian rhythm, which can be altered by medications such as sleep aids and even using electronic devices before bed.

Along with the risk of blood pressure being too high, it can also be dangerously low.

Low blood pressure may be genetic or occur as a result of aging.

In some cases, it’s temporary and caused by pregnancy or dehydration, but in other cases it can result from an underlying disease or a severe reaction to something in the environment or diet.

Warning signs include dizziness and unexplained fatigue, and are reasons to seek medical attention.

About the Authors: