News Release, American Heart Association
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 6, 2019 — Applying a heating pad overnight may help people with supine hypertension, a condition that causes their blood pressure to increase when they lie down including during sleep, according to preliminary results presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.
Supine hypertension is present in about half of people with autonomic failure, a chronic degenerative disease that affects the part of the nervous system that regulates involuntary functions such as blood pressure and heart rate. Overnight increases in blood pressure are associated with damage to the heart and kidneys. It can also increase urine production, which can worsen a condition where a person’s blood pressure rapidly drops upon standing, such as when first getting out of bed in the morning.
Researchers studied 10 patients with autonomic failure and supine hypertension. The average age of the study participants was 76 years, with a systolic (upper number) blood pressure of 168 mm Hg measured in the lying position. During the two-night study, participants received heat at 100 degrees Fahrenheit from a medical-grade heating pad placed under their torso on one night, and an unheated pad on the other. Supine blood pressure was monitored every two hours from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., and heat therapy was applied from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The researchers found that heat therapy applied during sleep decreased systolic blood pressure, with a maximum reduction of 30 mm Hg after four hours of heat. Despite lowering overnight systolic blood pressure, heat therapy did not decrease nighttime urine production or improve the sudden drop in morning blood pressure.
“In many patients with autonomic failure, heat exposure decreases blood pressure by shifting blood to skin vessels,” said Luis E. Okamoto, M.D., study author and research assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. “The use of local, controlled heat therapy may be a novel and simple approach to treat supine hypertension in these patients without using medications; however, additional studies are needed to assess the long-term safety and efficacy of this approach.”
Among the study’s limitations are its small size and its focus on primary forms of autonomic failure, which is a rare condition. Although the study population was Caucasian, the researchers anticipate that the results may be applicable to other ethnic groups.
Co-authors are Jorge E. Celedonio, M.D.; Emily C. Smith, M.P.H., B.S.N., R.N.; Alfredo Gamboa, M.D.; Cyndya A. Shibao, M.D.; Andre Diedrich, M.D., Ph.D.; Sachin Paranjape, M.S.; Bonnie K. Black, R.N., N.P.; James A. Muldowney III, M.D.; Amanda C. Peltier, M.D.; Ralf Habermann, M.D.; Craig G. Crandall, Ph.D.; and Italo Biaggioni, M.D. Author disclosures are in the abstract.
The National Institutes of Health funded this study.
The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.
To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at email@example.com
Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II