Isn’t it prudent to have your blood pressure under control when you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure? Keeping yourself well informed on the factors that could trigger an increase in blood pressure could help you control it. So, what can raise blood pressure? The following are few factors that can raise your BP and most of them can be dealt with few lifestyle modifications, diet and exercise.
Smoking/Drinking: Tobacco abuse or smoking can raise your blood pressure. If you are a chronic long-term smoker, there are many other risks associated which include but are not limited to lung cancer, COPD, coronary artery disease, stroke, etc. All these diseases are lethal and urgent measures need to be taken. Consider quitting tobacco. There are many over-the-counter and prescription products that could help you get rid of smoking. Talk with your doctor of any concerns that you might have. He most probably would refer you to a smoking cessation program. Like smoking alcohol could also increase BP. Alcohol consumption in small quantities decreases BP, but in the long run it increases it because they are high in calories and higher calorie consumption would increase weight leading to increase in blood pressure. If possible try to quit or else drink in moderation.
Obesity/Overweight: If you are overweight, you are at an increased risk of developing hypertension. Sedentary lifestyle is the major contributing factor as far as obesity is concerned, though some of you may have metabolic disorders which could lead to obesity. You may or may not be aware of this. In any case, consult your doctor and follow the recommendations that he scripts for you. Try to lose some weight. Losing at least 10 pounds could significantly lower your blood pressure.
Inactivity/Being Sedentary: Being inactive will lead to you putting on weight and also could increase cholesterol in your blood, thereby resulting in atherosclerosis. Both of these will ultimately increase your blood pressure. Putting on weight will make your harder heart pump to ensure oxygen-rich blood reaches all parts of your body. Atherosclerosis results in building of plaques in the arteries and will lead to coronary artery disease. Try to exercise at least 30 to 40 minutes a day even if you have to space the time out.
Unhealthy Dietary Habits: An unhealthy diet can also put you at risk for high blood pressure and other health problems. Avoid junk foods, salt, caffeine and red meat. Eating more vegetables and fruits can help lower your blood pressure. Incorporate fruits, green leafy vegetables, fish and nuts to your daily diet and you will start see the results rather quickly.
Stressful Situation: Constant stress plays a vital role in high blood pressure and unfortunately everyone is stressed at some point in their lives. When you are stressed out take a break or go for a vacation, this would help clear your mind and make you more relaxed. Try to cope up with stress through relaxation techniques like breathing exercises. Yoga is found to be of immense help in relieving stress and could calm you down.
Other Medical Conditions: Sleep apnea, insomnia, kidney disease, pheochromocytoma, hyperthyroidism, aldosteronism, etc… all could increase blood pressure. If it is certain that the source of hypertension originated from the above, treating it could completely solve the problem. Discussing with your doctor about your condition could benefit your disorder along with your blood pressure.
Medications: Certain type of medications like anti-depressants, painkillers, cold medicines, contraceptives, nasal decongestants, immunosuppressants, anorexia drugs and NSAIDs could increase your blood pressure. If you are on any of these drugs, you could very well need adjustments in your BP medication doses. Your family physician could help you in this regard.
Race/Ethnicity: While you can certainly control most of the factors that increase your blood pressure, there are some that you cannot control, i.e., familial or hereditary. African Americans are more prone to high blood pressure than Caucasian or Hispanic American adults. They tend to develop BP earlier in life and are at greater risk of developing CAD, stroke, CHF, hypertensive heart disease. While you cannot control these factors, you can easily try to help decrease your risk. Watch your diet, exercise, lifestyle habits, etc. Over time this may be very beneficial to you.
High blood pressure or hypertension is a silent killer and you may not be in the know until it is too late. If you are above the age of 30, have your BP checked to know where you stand. If diagnosed, get yourself treated. Your family wants you to be there till the end. Leading a healthier lifestyle can help you live longer and enjoy your time in a healthy state. Discuss with your doctor about any questions or concerns that you may be having concerning your blood pressure. It is never too late to take control.