Waking up in the morning and taking your blood pressure medication might be a big — and possibly fatal — mistake.
Switching to taking blood pressure pills in the evening can substantially lower your risk of heart-related disease and death, according to a study published earlier this month in the European Heart Journal.
A study focusing on 19,000 adults with hypertension found that those who took blood pressure pills before bed reduced their risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event by nearly half compared with patients who took pills in the morning.
The startling conclusion should change how you take blood pressure medications, says Dr. John Osborne, a cardiologist and a volunteer expert for the American Heart Association.
The Dallas-based physician — who was not associated with the study — told AARP:
“It’s a no-cost, zero-risk, zero-side-effect intervention that could be done tomorrow in every clinic. Just changing to evening dosing could translate to substantial reductions across the whole realm of cardiovascular events.”
Why does a nighttime medication regimen pay such dividends?
Osborne says blood pressure typically is lower at night, before it rises in the morning. It tends to start dipping again in the afternoon.
Taking your blood pressure medication before bedtime allows it to reach a peak concentration the next morning — at the same time your blood pressure naturally is at its highest.
Thus, taking your pills at night allows the medication to work at highest efficiency just when you need it most.
The researchers’ findings, which were based on monitoring patients over an average of more than six years, did not convince everyone. Dr. Allen Taylor, chairman of the department of cardiology at MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute and professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, tells AARP he would like to see confirmation of the findings.
However, he also says he “certainly wouldn’t hesitate” to switch patients to a nighttime medication routine if such a schedule is convenient for those patients.
Think your blood pressure readings are nothing to worry about? You might want to reconsider. For more, check out “Is Your Blood Pressure ‘Mildly’ High? Here’s Why You Should Worry.”
Will you change when you take blood pressure pills? Let us know in comments below or on our Facebook page.