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Your blood pressure readings can fluctuate to some degree, even by just walking into your doctor’s surgery or having a cup of coffee. If you know you are going to be having your blood pressure checked, don’t go to a coffee shop beforehand! However, it won’t change too much unless you are suffering from a health condition.
Possible Causes For Blood Pressure Readings To Increase
As you get older, your blood pressure might naturally begin to increase. Your blood vessels aren’t as flexible when you’re older so they tend to become more rigid. Other possible causes that can influence your low and high blood pressure chart readings are:
- Weight – Overweight individuals have more instances of hypertension.
- Hormones – Your hormones changing can affect your blood pressure levels.
- Genetics – Genetics play a role in whether or not you have hypertension.
- Stress and anxiety – Stress and anxiety can cause spikes in your blood pressure. Many people choose to drink alcohol, eat comfort (salty/sugary) foods or smoke when they are stressed. These factors often point to hypertension.
- Diabetes – Diabetics experience more instances of high blood pressure.
- Salt – Salt is a contributing factor to high blood pressure readings.
- Alcohol Consumption – Overloading on alcohol can mean high blood pressure readings.
- Nutrient Deficiency – A Potassium deficiency or Vitamin D deficiency contributes to hypertension.
- Blood Vessels – The shape of your blood vessels will help or hurt your blood pressure.
- Kidney Health – If your kidneys are in bad shape, it can cause high blood pressure.
- Smoking – Smokers see a diagnosis of hypertension more often than non-smokers. Smoking has a two-pronged effect on your blood pressure readings. It actually isn’t the specific direct cause of elevated blood pressure, except temporarily but it does contribute to the downfall of your blood vessels and heart health, which in turn causes blood pressure to rise.
Primary and Secondary Hypertension
In most cases – 90-95% – there’s no formal cause found for high blood pressure. They call this phenomenon essential primary hypertension. All they know is that your heart has to work much harder to pump blood through your body.
This is why your lifestyle is so important if you want to treat high blood pressure.
Secondary hypertension is when high blood pressure levels are caused by another medical condition, such as kidney disease.
There are two causes that affect blood pressure readings listed above that many people are concerned about as it affects them daily. They are salt in their diet and smoking.
Why Does Salt Cause High Blood Pressure to Rise?
We have all heard at some time or another that salt is bad for us…or at least too much salt is bad…however, sodium is part of a healthy body. Salt helps your kidneys to retain water. This is needed to maintain circulation and a healthy blood pressure level. This process also helps your heart pump oxygenated blood throughout your body.
So how much is considered healthy?
- The American Heart Association recommends consuming a maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium each day. That means if you consume approx. 1/3 of a teaspoon (remembering 5,000 mg equals 1 teaspoon) you have consumed your daily limit.
The next question is, if we need salt for a healthy body, how or why does salt cause blood pressure readings to rise?
Unfortunately too much sodium can throw off the delicate balance between being healthy or unhealthy. The sodium pulls too much water into the blood vessels, which pumps up the volume of blood inside the vessels. If too much blood is flowing through the blood vessels, this increases blood pressure.
To put things into simple terms, imagine putting too much air or water into a balloon. What happens? It swells and bursts.
This is a simple example of what is happening to your blood vessels. They are receiving too much pressure and volume which can injure the blood vessel walls and promote the buildup of unhealthy plaque. This blocks blood flow and the excess sodium continues to raise the pressure in the blood vessels. These two issues can lead to heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Today, obesity, diabetes and other serious health issues are on the rise due to eating processed and fast foods. Many fast foods have been heavily processed and many contain unhealthy per-serving levels of sodium. If you are not monitoring your daily levels, you are probably getting too much salt in your diet.
How Does Smoking Affect Blood Pressure Readings?
When you smoke, the arteries harden and your blood pressure temporarily increases by approximately 10 mm Hg. This can last for about 60 minutes after each cigarette.
Most smokers, smoke a cigarette several times a day, so their blood pressure readings can spike continually. It is important for your health to give up smoking as soon as possible! Why not start today…for a longer heart healthy life.
Why Is High Blood Pressure Dangerous?
When hypertension is diagnosed, you have to be on the lookout for symptoms of a heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. In other words – high blood pressure can kill you – it’s as simple as that.
That’s why it’s imperative that you get it under control fast and for the long-term – because you don’t need or want the stress of worrying about your expiration date. That may sound harsh, but we all want to live long and healthy!
Don’t be in denial either about a small rise in numbers being ‘ok’. Even a moderate raise can shorten your lifespan.
Whenever you’re diagnosed, your doctor may ask you to make some common lifestyle changes. If that doesn’t work, then medications may be prescribed to help lower your blood pressure. In some instances, your hypertension may be labeled resistant if medication doesn’t lower your readings.
Therefore it is wise to take control yourself and help your body keep your levels at a healthy range. There are also herbs and supplements to help lower high blood pressure too!