Can Certain Lighting Affect Blood Pressure? Researchers Say Yes

Many Americans live daily with high blood pressure — it affects one in three adults in the country. There are easy steps one can take to prevent high blood pressure or keep it under control. Doctors often suggest a healthy diet and plenty of exercise to combat high blood pressure. But new research suggests exposure to certain lighting may have a positive impact on hypertension.

Nurse checking a patient's blood pressure

Can lighting affect blood pressure? A new study says yes. | Zinkevych/iStock/Getty Images

High blood pressure may result in severe heart problems

When you have high blood pressure, it means the pressure between your blood cells and arteries is greater than it should be. It can be either genetic or caused by a poor diet and low level of exercise. When the blood becomes harder to pass through the arteries, the artery walls try to make up the difference. They start to thicken to send the blood through. But if they thicken too much, they cause a blockage. Depending on where the blockage occurs, it can lead to either a heart attack or stroke. That’s why it’s incredibly important to monitor your blood pressure levels; especially as you get older. They can also have other serious effects on the body, such as eye disease that may leave you with permanent vision loss.

A study suggests exposure to blue light can lower blood pressure

One study found that exposure to blue light, which does not emit harmful ultraviolet rays, could have a positive effect on blood pressure. The study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and exposed participants to 30 minutes of whole-body blue light. On a different day, the test subjects were exposed to controlled light. Researchers evaluated the effects by measuring the patients’ blood pressure, stiffness of arteries, blood vessel dilation and blood plasma levels of nitric oxide stores, Science Daily reported. The levels were measured before and during the exposure, as well as two hours after.

Researchers discovered that the systolic blood pressure dropped almost 8 mmHg after exposure to the blue light, which means patients’ levels were significantly lower. The controlled light showed no change in blood pressure levels. Researchers think blue light gets absorbed through the skin and relaxes the blood vessels, which results in an overall drop in blood pressure.

Two easy ways to lower blood pressure naturally are through diet and exercise

While blue light as a form of blood pressure control is a great breakthrough, it isn’t as convenient as switching up your diet and exercising daily. It’s best to consume foods that are low in sodium, since sodium makes the blood cells retain water. This makes blood harder to pass through the arteries, thickening the artery walls and raising blood pressure. Daily exercise is important, too, to keep the heart working soundly. The American Heart Association suggests getting roughly 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of rigorous exercise. It’s the best way to ensure your heart remains healthy. And when paired with a healthy diet, it can help add years to your life.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!