What Are the Causes of Morning High Blood Pressure?

By Cindi Pearce

A moderate rise in blood pressure in the morning is commonplace for most of us since we hit the floor running, trying to get ourselves ready for work, the dog fed, lunches packed and the kids off to school. Mornings are stressful and do lead to increased blood pressure. However, if you already have blood pressure problems and are experiencing serious blood pressure surges in the morning, you need to discuss this with your doctor.

A moderate rise in blood pressure in the morning is commonplace for most of us since we hit the floor running, trying to get ourselves ready for work, the dog fed, lunches packed and the kids off to school. Mornings are stressful and do lead to increased blood pressure. However, if you already have blood pressure problems and are experiencing serious blood pressure surges in the morning, you need to discuss this with your doctor.

Diurnal Pattern

Blood pressure has a daily (diurnal) pattern, according to the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D. Blood pressure usually peaks in the late afternoon but some individuals experience high blood pressure in the morning. This can be due to kidney disease, certain medications including corticosteroids, tobacco use, sleep apnea, poorly controlled blood pressure, adrenal gland tumors, stress, caffeine and working the night shift. According to Dr. Sheps, there are medications available that you take before going to bed and that will activate before you get up and will prevent the drastic rise in blood pressure in the morning. Ask your doctor for information on these particular medications if you are experiencing high blood pressure in the mornings.

Lack of Sleep

If you haven't had a full night's sleep in years, this will make your blood pressure surge in the morning, according to Dr. Sheps. He cites a study where participants, who were ages 32 to 59, who consistently slept less than six hours a night, were tracked. Their risk of high blood pressure in the morningwas more than twice the risk of those who slept six hours or more each night. The younger participants were far more at risk for developing high blood pressure than those who were 59-years-old yet sleeping less than six hours nightly.

Heart Attacks

Heart attacks are notorious for striking in the early morning, according to the Pslgroup.com in correlation with rising blood pressure. According to Garret A. FitzGerald, M.D., director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, since blood pressure response to stress in the early morning is courtesy of rising caetcholamines (norepinephrine and epinephrine), which are connected to an individual's internal clock. If the clock could be stopped via the use of drugs, this might avert heart attacks. Older people, in particular, would benefit from this because they have a decided increase in blood pressure in the morning. This study, which was conducted on mice, was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Morning Surges

High morning blood pressure is nothing to scoff at. It could mean that you are headed for a stroke or heart attack, according to Dr. Shafiq Qaadri. When an individual experiences a blast of high blood pressure in the morning, this is considered a blood pressure surge. Dr. Qaadri recommends that those with high blood pressure monitor their pressure, at home, particularly in the mornings, as a preventive measure.

Monitor

Dr. Qaadri also advises that an individual who is struggling with high blood pressure in the morning monitor his blood pressure levels throughout the course of the day so that he can learn what his blood pressure patterns are and what activities or stresses may be responsible for the increase in blood pressure. Once you know this, you can take appropriate action.

References

About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.

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