Ask the doctor: Is high blood pressure in the morning a problem?

By Thomas Lee, M.D.
Content provided by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School

Is high blood pressure in the morning a problem?

Q. My blood pressure is high when I first get up in the morning, generally around 150/80, but always drops back to normal (around 120/60) by 9 a.m. and stays that way throughout the day. I take 150 milligrams of Avapro in the morning and again in the evening, along with a diuretic in the morning. I check my blood pressure at home using a meter that was verified in my cardiologist's office. My doctor says I shouldn't worry about the temporary high morning blood pressure. What do you think?

A. The variation in blood pressure that you describe is very common, but most people aren't aware of it because they don't measure their blood pressure very often.

It is most likely that your blood pressure is higher when you wake up due to a combination of lower medication levels in your bloodstream and the surge of adrenaline needed to get you going in the morning. The morning blood pressure levels you describe are not so high that you need to make a major change in your drug regimen. Just be sure to take your pills as soon as possible after awakening. If you were to have morning chest pain or other symptoms that might be due to high blood pressure, a more aggressive approach to your morning surges would be worthwhile.

— Thomas Lee, M.D. Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter

Last Annual Review Date: 2008-06-01T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: Copyright Harvard Health Publications

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The amount of alcohol you drink has nothing to do with your blood pressure.