Blood pressure changes are an everyday part of the flu year.
That’s the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Circulation.
The study included 2,898 people with no previous history of flu or chronic disease, who were asked to report their blood pressure on a daily basis over the course of the year.
Researchers used an algorithm that analyzes the blood pressure of people using a range of devices to find out the effects of the season on blood pressure.
“What we found is that the blood pressures actually go down,” said co-author Dr. Michael Meehan.
“In some cases the reduction is actually quite large.”
The study found that people with the highest blood pressure had the lowest levels of flu season symptoms and lower flu season blood pressure than those with lower blood pressure and no flu symptoms.
That could have implications for people who suffer from a higher risk of serious illness from the pandemic, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
The findings are significant, Meeha says, because flu season is a major time for people to take time off work.
Meehans co-authored the study with Dr. David J. Hsu of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
The authors also looked at the relationship between blood pressure during flu season and other flu-related symptoms, including fever, fatigue, cough and sore throat.
Those who reported lower blood pressures were also at a higher relative risk of experiencing flu-like symptoms, the researchers found.
The new study also found that the seasonal effect of blood pressure was even stronger than previous research has suggested.
The researchers found that those with high blood pressure were more likely to experience flu-associated symptoms and higher levels of symptoms related to flu season.
Muhan says this study confirms what many of us already knew about the effects on blood flow and other aspects of blood circulation in people with chronic illness.
“The fact that we see this pattern is important,” he said.
“If we could understand what’s going on with people’s blood flow during flu seasons, that would be a really important step forward in understanding how the pandemics affect our health.”
MeeHans coauthors are Dr. Thomas A. Rizzo and Dr. Stephen M. McGehee, both of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Drs.
James D. Fuchs, David J, and Mark P. Zaleski, all of the Harvard Medical School.
The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
The report can be found online at http://www.cir.org/cgi/content/full/13/6/e931.full.
The Canadian Institutes of Affairs and the Canadian Institute for Health Information were also involved in this research.