Yet, it is exactly at night that the biggest number drop happens. Blood pressure, despite popular belief, does not stay steady throughout the day. Instead, it follows a natural twenty-four hour cycle.
Numbers always fluctuate
Circulatory system has its own rhythm and diurnal fluctuations. Basically, it drives the readings up during the day and keeps it low at night. These rhythmic fluctuations attracted scientists’ attention, who tried to establish whether different patterns correlate in any way with different levels of health. And if fact, interesting discoveries were made.
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A healthy heart behaves differently at night than a compromised heart. This behavioral change makes a difference to the readings. The studies demonstrated that in healthy people overnight pressure numbers go down just a tiny bit, about 10-20%. . Anything higher and anything lower were correlated with various health problems.
Effects of low blood pressure at night
Studies correlated lack of blood pressure dipping with poorer sleep, night waking, and sleep apnea. Non-dipping was also associated with enhanced risk of cardiovascular events such as strokes and heart attacks as well as endocrine and nervous system dysfunctions including hyperthyroid and various neuropathies. Non-dippers were found to be experiencing more stress, and have stronger family history of hypertension.
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Some people were found to be extra dippers. Extra dipping at night is never good and especially troublesome for someone with already existing hypotension. Extra dippers go more than 20%. , In extreme situations extra-dippers can go as low as 50 points below their daytime baseline, which is definitely too extreme for health.
Little known low blood pressure symptoms
Extreme lows can, just as the extreme highs, lead to cardiovascular events and brain damage. In extreme dippers this is due to insufficient blood flow to the heart and the brain. Exactly for the same reason people with extra-large dips are more likely to suffer silent strokes.
The extremes are not good for the eyes either, as lack of oxygen causes damage to the nerves and can lead to vision loss. Who do you think most likely is among extreme dippers? Diabetics and people with sleep apnea. Extreme dipping and lack of oxygen may explain way diabetics are chronically tired, prone to nerve damage, and have higher incidence of vision loss. Extreme dipping is also frequent among people with hardened arteries.
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