The systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressures rise and fall with the change of seasons.

In a study of 8801 people aged 65 or older by the Institute National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale of Paris published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, the average systolic blood pressure was five points higher during the winter than in summer.

Instances of high blood pressure (systolic blood pressure higher than 159, or diastolic higher than 94 mmHg) in the study were found in 33.4 percent of participants during winter but just 23.8 percent during summer.

The reason could be related to the baroreflex, a mechanism of blood pressure regulation that is modified in elderly subjects or a function of the sympathetic nervous system, which helps control involuntary actions such as stress response. A 5 mm change in blood pressure can explain why more heart patients die in winter.

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