Supine hypertension is when a person has high blood pressure when lying down, typically during sleep or rest. Causes may include health conditions, like sleep apnea, and taking certain medications.
Treatments may include lifestyle changes and medication.
This article discusses what to know about supine hypertension.
Supine hypertension is a type of hypertension (high blood pressure) that occurs specifically when a person is lying down.
In supine hypertension, a person’s blood pressure is consistently elevated when they are lying down but returns to normal when they are standing or sitting.
Supine hypertension vs. hypertension
“Hypertension” refers to consistently elevated blood pressure, regardless of body position or activity level.
While hypertension and supine hypertension can have similar causes, the diagnostic criteria and treatment approaches differ.
Healthcare professionals typically diagnose hypertension when a person’s blood pressure consistently measures
Healthcare professionals measure blood pressure using systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.
Systolic pressure represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart is contracting. Diastolic pressure represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
The table below provides a
|Systolic pressure (mm Hg)||and/or||Diastolic pressure (mm Hg)|
|Normal||lower than 120||and||lower than 80|
|Elevated||120–129||and||lower than 80|
|Stage 1 hypertension||130–139||or||80–89|
|Stage 2 hypertension||140 or higher||or||90 or higher|
|Hypertensive crisis||higher than 180||and/or||higher than 120|
Diagnosing supine hypertension can be challenging because blood pressure measurements in the doctor’s office may not accurately reflect a person’s blood pressure when they are lying down.
Healthcare professionals may use the following diagnostic tests to evaluate supine hypertension:
- Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM): For this test, a person wears a portable blood pressure monitor that takes frequent measurements over 24 hours, including during sleep. This can provide a more accurate picture of a person’s blood pressure levels day and night.
- Tilt-table test: This test
involveslying on a special table that healthcare professionals can tilt to different angles while they monitor a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. This test can help identify autonomic nervous system dysfunction, which can contribute to supine hypertension.
- Orthostatic blood pressure readings: A healthcare professional takes a person’s blood pressure when they are lying down, seated, and standing.
Blood tests or imaging tests can rule out other underlying causes of symptoms.
Supine hypertension often does not cause any noticeable signs or symptoms.
Some people with supine hypertension may experience symptoms
Common causes and risk factors for supine hypertension include:
- Autonomic nervous system dysfunction: The autonomic nervous system regulates blood pressure, heart rate, and
otherinvoluntary bodily functions. Dysfunction of this system, such as in Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, or pure autonomic failure, can lead to supine hypertension.
- Sleep apnea: This condition involves brief interruptions in a person’s breathing during sleep. This can cause
fluctuationsin blood pressure, including nocturnal hypertension.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as beta-blockers and some antidepressants, can
interferewith blood pressure regulation and contribute to supine hypertension.
Experts frequently associate supine hypertension with orthostatic hypotension, in which the blood pressure drops upon standing.
Studies suggest that about
The possible complications of supine hypertension include:
- Heart disease: Supine hypertension can increase the heart’s workload, leading to an increased risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure, and other cardiovascular conditions.
- Stroke: High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the brain, increasing the risk of stroke.
- Kidney damage: High blood pressure can
damagethe kidneys over time, leading to chronic kidney disease.
- Cognitive decline: Research has
linkedhigh blood pressure to an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
The goal of treatment is to lower nocturnal blood pressure without excessively lowering daytime blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness and falls.
Treatment may involve:
- Lifestyle modifications: Lifestyle changes, such as reducing salt intake, making efforts to lose weight, increasing physical activity, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco, can help
improveblood pressure regulation in people with supine hypertension.
- Medication adjustments: Changing the timing and dosage of medications can help
If someone has received a diagnosis of supine hypertension, their doctor may recommend:
- A different sleep position: Elevating the head of the bed
30 degrees (6–9 inches)can help reduce supine hypertension by improving blood flow to the heart and reducing fluid buildup in the lungs.
- Monitoring: Regular blood pressure monitoring, including during sleep, can help track the effectiveness of treatment and identify any potential complications.
People can take some steps to reduce the risk of developing supine hypertension:
- Maintaining a moderate weight: Excess body weight can
increasethe risk of hypertension, including supine hypertension. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet can help improve blood pressure regulation.
- Reducing salt intake: Consuming too much salt can
contributeto hypertension, and reducing salt intake can help improve blood pressure regulation.
- Limiting alcohol and tobacco use: Alcohol and tobacco use can
contributeto hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions. Limiting or avoiding these substances can help reduce the risk of supine hypertension.
Supine hypertension, or nocturnal hypertension, is high blood pressure that occurs when a person is lying down, typically during sleep or rest.
The possible causes include autonomic nervous system dysfunction, chronic kidney disease, obesity, sleep apnea, certain medications, and aging.
Supine hypertension may not cause noticeable symptoms but can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage unless a person receives treatment.