Why Night?


Anchor lead: Nighttime use of blood pressure medicines reduces cardiovascular risk, Elizabeth Tracey reports

People with high blood pressure who took their medicines before bed rather than in the morning experienced 40 to 50% fewer strokes and heart attacks than the daytime medicine takers, a study of over 19,000 people showed. Greg Prokopowicz, a blood pressure expert at Johns Hopkins, says the magnitude of the benefit is startling.

Prokopowicz: They were interested in looking at blood pressures at nighttime. So we’ve known for a long time that blood pressures during sleep are extremely strong predictors of cardiovascular health. If your blood pressure doesn’t drop adequately while you’re sleeping your risk of heart attack and stroke is substantially higher. With that background we have this study where they give the medications in the evening. They did see a greater drop in nighttime blood pressure in patients who were taking it in the evening but the drop in blood pressure was not so dramatic that you’d expect it to produce anywhere near the benefits that they saw in this study.  :33

Prokopowicz says more studies are needed to confirm this finding. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.