Nighttime is the right time to take your blood pressure medicine. Recent research shows a simple change in the time of day when you take this important medication can significantly cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
Those who take their blood pressure pills at night had nearly half the risk of suffering strokes, heart attacks and heart failure as those who took the medicine in the morning. Taking antihypertensive pills at night also reduced the likelihood of needing a procedure to unblock narrowed arteries. The findings by researchers in Spain were published in the European Heart Journal.
In the study, more than 19,000 patients were separated into two groups — those who took their meds at night and others who popped the pills upon waking. Their blood pressure and other indicators were tracked over a six-year period. The researchers adjusted to account for other factors such as age, smoking and Type 2 diabetes.
The most striking outcome involved the risk of death from blood vessel and heart problems, which fell by 66%. Other risks — including stroke, heart attack and heart failure — fell by more than 40%.
The findings build on research by the same scientists that showed the average systolic blood pressure — the pressure in arteries when the heart muscle contracts — is most critical when someone is asleep.
In fact, the study found taking medication at night results in better controlled blood pressure. Those who medicated in the evening had lower blood pressure both at night and during the day than those who took their pills in the morning.
If you have high blood pressure, make the medicine cabinet your last stop before bed.