Could taking antihypertensive medication at night improve blood pressure control?

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According to the British Heart Foundation, around 50% of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes are associated with high blood pressure (hypertension) and as many as 5 million adults in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure. Once someone has been found to have hypertension, it is important that they establish a regime of treatment which brings their blood pressure readings down to recommended levels both during the day and night to reduce their risk of a cardiovascular event.

A recent study called the Hygia Chronotherapy Trial looked at the timing of blood pressure medication and whether taking it in the morning or before bed had an effect on blood pressure control and, importantly, whether this translated into a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

Results showed better blood pressure control in those taking their medication at night and also a reduction in the number of heart attacks and strokes in this group versus the control group. There were limitations to the study, namely that the participants were predominantly of Caucasian ethnicity, and also that the researchers did not analyse the effects of specific blood pressure medications, but nevertheless the results make for interesting reading.

Click here for a link to the original article published in the European Heart Journal, and here for a useful summary issued by the NHS.

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