Blood pressure should typically be stable. If there are regular changes in a person’s blood pressure, medications, lifestyle changes, and home remedies may help regulate it.

A person’s blood pressure usually varies slightly throughout the day. However, if it regularly fluctuates, this will often require monitoring and management.

It is important that a medical professional checks a person’s fluctuating blood pressure regularly, as it can reveal a lot about the person’s health.

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Below are several factors that can cause dangerous fluctuations in blood pressure.

White coat hypertension

This term describes blood pressure that is higher at the doctor’s office, often because the person is anxious about the appointment.

White coat hypertension is not necessarily as concerning as consistently high blood pressure.

A 2016 meta-analysis found that people with white coat hypertension had a lower risk of heart disease and a better outlook than people with lasting hypertension.

However, without correct identification, white coat hypertension can lead to incorrect hypertension treatments, which may have negative health effects.

Learn more about white coat hypertension.

Medications

Certain medications can temporarily reduce blood pressure. They include:

Emotional upset, anxiety, and stress

Strong emotions, particularly stress and anxiety, can cause blood pressure to spike. This is the body’s natural response to a stressful event, and the pressure will eventually decrease as the person becomes calm.

However, long-term stress and untreated anxiety can have lasting, harmful effects on blood pressure and overall health.

Learn more about the link between anxiety and blood pressure.

Temperature

Heat can temporarily lower blood pressure. This is usually not a cause for concern as long as a person’s blood pressure does not dip too low.

A 2021 review found that targeted heat therapy can effectively lower blood pressure and improve circulatory function.

Illegal drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine can cause extreme spikes in blood pressure.

Adrenal issues

Dysfunction of the adrenal glands can cause hormone imbalances that affect blood pressure.

The adrenal glands sit above the kidneys and produce many critical hormones, including cortisol, aldosterone, catecholamines, and adrenaline.

Pheochromocytoma

Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor occurring in the adrenal glands. These tumors increase the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline, leading to increases in blood pressure.

Learn more about the adrenal glands.

Food and drinks

Food and drinks high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats can raise blood pressure.

Limiting intake of these foods and prioritizing a balanced, healthy diet can help people maintain consistent blood pressure levels.

Read about 50 foods that have links to high blood pressure.

Activity

Excessive activity can raise blood pressure levels and is common among athletes.

Exercise-induced hypertension can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular complications in later life.

The factors below may increase the risk of dangerous swings in blood pressure:

First, a doctor will determine the underlying cause. They will ask about a person’s history and discuss their lifestyle and medications. The doctor may also order or conduct tests.

Medications can lower blood pressure and prevent dangerous fluctuations. A person may also be able to achieve this goal by making changes to their lifestyle.

By attending follow-up visits, a person can ensure that their blood pressure remains within normal limits and that medications are not causing unpleasant side effects.

Home remedies and lifestyle changes

The following actions can help normalize blood pressure:

  • Stopping smoking (if applicable): Smoking harms the arteries and can cause high blood pressure.
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein: Reduce or eliminate added sugars and processed foods.
  • Getting regular exercise: The American Heart Association recommends moderate-intensity exertion, such as walking at a quick pace. A person should do this for 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days a week.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption (if applicable): Drinking more than the recommended guidelines can raise blood pressure. Guidelines recommend no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.
  • Finding healthy ways to lower stress: Meditation, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, and other techniques to manage stress can help avoid spikes in blood pressure.
  • Consuming less sodium: Excessively salty foods can cause sharp increases in blood pressure.
  • Reducing caffeine intake: Caffeinated drinks can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure and may worsen anxiety.

Individuals should consult a doctor for personalized guidance.

Regular fluctuations in blood pressure can increase the risk of:

A study from 2015 suggested people with blood pressure that varied significantly between medical appointments were more likely to have a heart attack, a stroke, or heart failure.

A later study from 2017 concluded that older adults with daily fluctuations in blood pressure were more likely to develop dementia.

Healthy lifestyle choices, and in some cases medication, can resolve fluctuations in blood pressure.

A person should have their blood pressure checked regularly and seek treatment for any conditions that may affect it.

While fluctuations in blood pressure can be dangerous, medications and lifestyle changes can help a person manage the situation.

After a doctor determines the cause of changes in a person’s blood pressure, they will help develop a treatment plan.

Individuals should follow the advice of doctors and take medicines as prescribed.

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