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High Blood Pressure: What is it and What are the causes?

Blood pressure (BP) is a measurement of the force exerted on the artery walls as blood is pumped out of the heart; it is an important component of how the heart and blood circulation work. A sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope are used to take blood pressure readings on the upper arm.

Blood pressure naturally rises and falls throughout the day, adjusting to the needs of the heart and depending on the type of activity a person engages in. When the blood pressure is consistently higher than normal, it is called high blood pressure.

As a general rule of thumb:

If a person’s blood pressure is greater than or equal to 140/90mmHg, they are said to have high blood pressure (hypertension).

Consistently high blood pressure over a long period of time is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. The likelihood of having persistently high blood pressure increases as a person gets older.

TOP LIFESTYLE FACTORS THAT CAUSE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Obesity or being overweight

The more you weigh, the more blood flow you’ll need to keep your tissues supplied with oxygen and nutrients. The pressure inside your arteries rises as the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels rises.

You are consuming too much salt (sodium) in your diet.

If you consume too much sodium in your diet, your body will retain fluid and your arteries will constrict. Both of these factors raise blood pressure.

Potassium deficiency in the diet

Potassium helps to keep the sodium levels in your cells in check. Potassium relaxes the smooth muscle cells that line your arteries, lowering blood pressure.

Lacking in physical activity

Exercise increases blood flow through all of the body’s arteries, resulting in the release of natural hormones and cytokines that relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. Being overweight is also linked to a lack of physical activity.

Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol

More than two drinks per day can cause hypertension by activating your adrenergic nervous system, causing blood vessel constriction and an increase in blood flow and heart rate at the same time.

Stress

High levels of stress can cause a brief but significant rise in blood pressure. If you try to relax by eating more, smoking, or drinking alcohol, you may only make your high blood pressure problems worse. Blood pressure can be effectively reduced by using relaxation and meditation techniques.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are medications that are used to treat inflammation (NSAIDs)

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen) can exacerbate existing hypertension or cause the onset of new hypertension. It can also harm the kidneys, worsen heart failure, and even result in a heart attack or stroke. Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, and Anaprox), sulindac (Clinoril), diclofenac (Voltaren), piroxicam (Feldene), indomethacin (Indocin), Mobic, Lodine, and celecoxib are all NSAIDs (Celebrex).

Medications for Cough and Cold (Sudafed and other brands that contain pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine)

Decongestants like pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are commonly found in cough and cold medicines. By constricting all of your arteries, not just those in your nose, these medications raise your blood pressure and heart rate.

Certain chronic illnesses

Diabetes, kidney disease, and sleep apnoea are all chronic conditions that can increase your risk of high blood pressure.

A vitamin D-deficient diet

It’s unclear whether eating too little vitamin D can cause high blood pressure. Vitamin D can affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure. More research is needed to determine the exact role of vitamin D in high blood pressure. However, consult your doctor to see if taking a vitamin D supplement would be beneficial.

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