One of the biggest killers in the world is heart disease. Blood pressure refers to the pressure at which your arteries pump blood from the heart to the rest of the body. A person that is diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension has a rate that is too high. The abnormal blood pressure puts stress on the heart and can cause heart attacks, strokes, and other ailments including premature death. A person is considered to have high blood pressure if their systolic blood pressure is over 140 and diastolic pressure is more than 90.
When you are asked about what causes high blood pressure chances are the first thing that will come to mind is eating too much salt and being overweight. While these are common causes of high blood pressure, there are other things that may cause high blood pressure that you may or may not be aware of. It is important to know the things that can cause high blood pressure so that you can take care of your body and avoid being diagnosed with this dangerous condition.
Here are 11 surprising causes of high blood pressure that you should be aware of.
Chances are that you have heard of BPAs. There have been recent studies that show that the chemical BPA that is found in the linings of plastic bottles and cans may seep into the food and drinks that are contained in them and this could be a cause of raised blood pressure. Since it is still unknown exactly what other harm that the chemical may do to the body it is important to avoid purchasing food or drinks that come in containers that use BPA. Look for BPA free labels when purchasing food and drinks.
While you may already know that eating too much salt can be linked to high blood pressure, you may not know that eating too much sugar can cause high blood pressure as well. In fact, eating too much sugar may be even worse for you than salt.
Recent research for dietary guidelines regarding heart health suggests greatly reducing the number of processed sugars a person eats. Fructose is the biggest culprit as it is often added to processed foods as well as drinks.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or have borderline high blood pressure you should be reducing the amount of sugar that you eat.
3. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that is often not diagnosed. This disorder is associated with restless sleeping, snoring, and essentially not breathing for periods of time during sleep. In addition, a person who suffers from sleep apnea may also have high blood pressure.
The reason for this is because when you stop breathing the oxygen levels in the body fall. When this happens the brain instructs the nervous system to increase oxygen flow to the heart and this will tighten up the blood vessels.
When this occurs often it can release stress hormones, which will raise your heart rate and increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.
4. Thyroid Issues
There is a correlation between hypothyroidism and high blood pressure. People who have problems with their thyroid may also experience hypertension. The thyroid regulates hormones throughout the body and when too many or too few hormones are produced it can affect blood pressure readings.
If you suffer from any type of thyroid issue it is important to make sure that you keep track of your blood pressure regularly as well. A well-balanced diet and exercise can lower the risk of high blood pressure resulting from thyroid issues.
5. Saunas and Hot Tubs
Sitting in a hot tub or sauna can have a relaxing effect. In fact, many people may think that this is a great way to relax and lower stress levels. Since stress is directly related to high blood pressure this may seem like a great idea.
However, the heat from a sauna or hot tub will cause your blood vessels to open up, similar to what happens when you go on a brisk walk. If you have high blood pressure this can be problematic and hot tubs and saunas should be avoided.
Over the counter and prescription medications are supposed to help you. However, there are some drugs that may put your blood pressure at risk. It has been found that people who take acetaminophen each day are more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who do not take it.
There are also some anti-inflammatory and pain medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen that can cause high blood pressure as well. There are some antidepressants that raise blood pressure as well.
Decongestants and inhalers are also known to raise blood pressure.
7. Lack of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can cause a person to develop high blood pressure. This is because the body will go into a stressful state when you are extremely tired.
This is the body’s way of telling you that you need to slow down and take a break. Unfortunately, most people ignore being tired and simply go on with our day to day habits.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure it is important to make sure that you are getting enough sleep each night.
8. Cardiovascular Weakness
If your heart rate is somewhat weak, this means that you are going to need to work harder in order to get the same amount of blood through your body at the same rate. Even if you are healthy overall, this could cause problems with your blood pressure.
If you have a cardiovascular weakness it is important to participate in a steady rate cardio exercise program such as biking or long-distance running.
This can help increase the size of your left ventricle, which will allow the heart to pump blood to the body at a more steady rate.
Everyone knows that it is important to drink water regularly. This is no secret. However, what many people do not realize is that not drinking enough each day can lead to a state of dehydration that can become very serious.
Making sure to stay hydrated is important as water helps to dilute the blood allowing it to flow more freely. Chronic dehydration can lead to hypertension, heart disease, as well as other health issues, so make sure you are drinking plenty of water each day.
10. Air Pollutants
There has been recent research that has shown a link to living in an area with high amounts of air pollution and high blood pressure. It has been found that exposure to sulfur dioxide can have a direct effect on a person’s blood pressure.
While it can be difficult to avoid pollutants that are found in the air, it is important to try and breathe in air that is as clean as possible.
For those that work in cities with poor air quality, wearing a mask while you are out in the polluted air can help reduce the health risks.