Overnight Heating Pad can Lower Blood Pressure that Rises when Lying Down

Blood Pressure Monitor

An innovative totally non-invasive and inexpensive way has been found to lower blood pressure in people who suffer from supine hypertension due to autonomic failure. This is a condition that causes blood pressure to rise while lying down and can cause a big drop in blood pressure when getting up. Using a heating pad overnight lowered systolic blood pressure significantly for people whose blood pressures rose when lying down. The study was carried out by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The results of the study were presented September 6, 2018 at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.

Supine Hypertension

Supine hypertension is found in about half of people who suffer from autonomic failure. Autonomic failure is a chronic degenerative disease that affects involuntary functions in the nervous system such as heart rate and blood pressure. It is often found in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Blood pressure that increases at night is associated with damaging the heart and kidneys. This overnight increase in blood pressure can also increase the production of urine. Autonomic failure can also cause a rapid drop in blood pressure when a person stands up or first gets out of bed in the morning. For this reason it is not easy to treat. During the day it is usually enough not to lie down to keep the blood pressure from rising.

The Two Night Study

Participants in the study were 10 patients average age 76 with autonomic failure and blood pressure that rose when they were lying down. When they were lying down their systolic (upper number) blood pressure rose to 168 mm Hg. On the first night of the two night study the participants slept with a medical grade heating pad under their torso. The heating pad  gave off heat at 100 degrees F. During the second night they slept without the heating pad. Their blood pressure was taken while they were lying down every two hours from 8:00 pm until 6:00 am.


After four hours of receiving heat from the pad, their systolic blood pressure was reduced by 30 mm Hg. However, this reduction in blood pressure did not reduce the production of urine during the night or improve the sudden drop in blood pressure when they got up in the morning.

According to the author of the study, Luis E. Okamoto, M.D., many people with autonomic failure when exposed to heat had a reduction in their blood pressure as the blood shifted to vessels of the skin.

Additional Research is Needed

Additional research is needed to examine the long-term safety aspects, as well as the effectiveness of this heating pad treatment.

About Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. About a million Americans have Parkinson’s disease and every year there are about 60,000 new cases. About 10 million people suffer from PD worldwide. Most people develop Parkinson’s after the age of 60. However, there are also early onset cases in younger people. Parkinson’s is more common in men than women unlike Alzheimer’s disease, which is more common in women than in men. To date, no cure or way of reversing PD has been found. Treatment mainly focuses on treating symptoms.

Characteristics of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease leads to all kinds of symptoms like tremors, rigidity, difficulty swallowing and chewing, inability to smell things, speaking problems, sleep disorders, constipation and urinary problems. Parkinson’s also has serious motor problems like difficulty in walking and with balance, Some people with Parkinson’s have a peculiar kind of hunched over shuffling walk called the Parkinsonian Gait. People with Parkinson’s may also suffer from fatigue, depression, mental and behavioral problems. See our blog post from June 28, 2018 about Parkinson’s disease and impulse disorders. Some cases of Parkinson’s are accompanied by dementia, but this is usually in advanced cases. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, it leads to more and more disabilities and impacts greatly on the quality of life.

Long-term Care for Advanced Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is progressive and usually gets worse over time. The day may come when it is time to think about long-term skilled rehabilitation and nursing care.

Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation is a 5-star rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility in Galloway Township, New Jersey surrounded by eight acres of woods and landscaped gardens. Royal Suites offers physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Royal Suites has a very good ratio of nurses and staff to people, so your loved one will get very good skilled nursing treatment at the hands of a warm and caring staff.


Since lying down high blood pressure is difficult to treat, it is hoped that this simple non-invasive and inexpensive treatment will prove to be the right treatment for supine hypertension.

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