Fluctuating blood pressure


It’s perfectly normal for your blood pressure to go up and down during the course of the day, and from one day to the next. If you’re monitoring your own blood pressure, it’s important not to get too hung up on these everyday fluctuations.

Your blood pressure may change in response to a variety of factors:

Stress and anxiety

Raised blood pressure is your body’s natural response to stress. It releases adrenaline and other hormones that cause your heart to beat faster in preparation for a fight-or-flight response.

There’s no clear evidence that chronic stress itself can cause a long-term increase in your blood pressure, but other related factors such as drinking and insomnia certainly can. And frequent hormone spikes can damage your heart and blood vessels. So if you’re habitually lying awake at night worrying about your finances or relationships, it’s probably time to talk to a doctor.


Physical activity does increase your blood pressure, but it should soon return to normal. On the whole, exercise is a natural stress reliever, and is good for you even if you already have hypertension. But if your blood pressure is above about 180/100, you should talk to a medical professional before starting an exercise programme.


Things like hot baths and saunas may cause a temporary decrease in blood pressure. This is because your blood vessels dilate in an attempt to regulate your body temperature. If you feel dizzy or faint, move to a cooler place as quickly (and carefully) as possible.