A study shows that elevated blood pressure while lying on your back could mean an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.
About 16 percent of people who did not have high blood pressure while sitting had it while lying down, US researchers said.
They found they were at higher risk of the two fatal complications, as well as heart failure and the overall risk of premature death.
Lead author Duc Giao of Harvard Medical School said: “If blood pressure is only measured while people are sitting upright, the risk of cardiovascular disease may be missed if it is not also measured while they are lying on their backs. “
“Our results suggest that people with known risk factors for heart disease and stroke may benefit from having their blood pressure measured in a flat supine position.”
High blood pressure – known in medicine as hypertension – occurs when the value determined by the doctor is 140/90 mmHg or more.
The disease causes around 75,000 deaths every year and is known to affect at least one in three Brits.
It can increase your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as aneurysms, kidney disease, and dementia.
The latest research, presented at the American Heart Association’s 2023 Hypertension Scientific Sessions in Boston, examined how sitting or lying down blood pressure affects risk.
Researchers examined the health data of 11,369 adults with an average age of 54 and tracked them for an average of 28 years.
They took blood pressure measurements while sitting and lying down and tracked whether there were any complications later in life.
Those who had high blood pressure while sitting and lying down were 2.18 times more likely to die from coronary heart disease.
They were 1.86 times more likely to have a stroke, 1.83 times more likely to have heart failure, and 1.43 times more likely to die early.
People who didn’t have high blood pressure when sitting but did when lying down had similarly increased risks, researchers said.
Giao said, “Efforts to control blood pressure in daily life can help reduce blood pressure during sleep.”
“Future research should compare supine blood pressure measurements in the clinic with overnight measurements.”