Living room temperature may affect blood pressure, study says

A thermostat dial (Yui Mok/PA) Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The temperature of people’s homes may impact their blood pressure, a new study suggests.

Those with colder homes are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, experts said.

The study, led by experts from University College London (UCL), examined data on people’s blood pressure and the ambient temperature in people’s living rooms.

Information on more than 4,600 adults who participated in the 2014 Health Survey for England was analysed.

After comparing blood pressure readings of people in their own homes with temperature readings, researchers found that there was a statistically significant link between indoor temperature and a person’s blood pressure.

With a decrease in temperature, there was an increase in blood pressure.

Blood pressure readings consist of two figures given together: systolic pressure, the pressure when your heart pushes blood out, and diastolic pressure, the pressure when your heart rests between beats.

According to NHS Choices, ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg

The new study, published in the Journal of Hypertension, found that every 1C decrease in indoor temperature was associated with rises of 0.48 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 0.45 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.

Turning up the thermostat could avoid certain health conditions, experts said Credit: Yui Mok/PA

The authors suggested that turning up the thermostat may help manage hypertension.

“Our research has helped to explain the higher rates of hypertension, as well as potential increases in deaths from stroke and heart disease, in the winter months, suggesting indoor temperatures should be taken more seriously in diagnosis and treatment decisions, and in public health messages,” said senior author Dr Stephen Jivraj of UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care.

“Among other diet and lifestyle changes people can make to reduce high blood pressure, our findings suggest that keeping homes a bit warmer could also be beneficial.”

During bouts of particularly cold weather officials issue warnings to people whose health is particularly at risk, including young children, older people and those with heart or lung conditions.

Official advice urges people to heat their homes to at least 18C (64.4F).