12 Surprising Blood Pressure Boosters
People who watch their blood pressure are generally familiar with the more common factors that can cause their numbers to spike — salt and stress, for example.
But a handful of unsuspecting foods, habits and health issues can play a role, too, and sabotage well-intentioned efforts to lower high blood pressure, or hypertension, a condition that affects nearly half of U.S. adults.
Here are 12 surprising things that can send your numbers soaring.
1. Noise Pollution
Did you know that living in a noisy environment can elevate your blood pressure? Constant exposure to loud sounds, like traffic noise or industrial machinery, triggers stress responses in the body, leading to hypertension over time. Try to minimize noise exposure, use noise-cancelling headphones, or consider soundproofing your living space.
2. Loneliness and Social Isolation
Loneliness can take a toll on your mental health, but it can also affect your physical well-being. Studies have shown that individuals who lack strong social connections are more likely to have high blood pressure. Prioritize social interactions and maintain healthy relationships to keep your blood pressure in check.
3. Air Pollution
Poor air quality, especially in urban areas, can contribute to hypertension. Particulate matter and pollutants in the air can harm your cardiovascular system, leading to elevated blood pressure. When possible, choose clean and green modes of transportation, and consider using air purifiers indoors.
4. Nighttime Smartphone Use
Using your smartphone late into the night can disrupt your sleep patterns, leading to hypertension. The blue light emitted by screens interferes with your body's production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for sleep. Establish a digital curfew to ensure better sleep quality.
5. Overdoing Caffeine
While moderate caffeine consumption may have some health benefits, excessive coffee or energy drink consumption can elevate your blood pressure. Limit your caffeine intake to a reasonable amount and monitor your body's response to it.
6. Lack of Sunlight
Vitamin D deficiency, often caused by inadequate sunlight exposure, is associated with hypertension. Spend time outdoors, and if necessary, consider taking vitamin D supplements to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Also see: 5 Tips to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
7. Oral Health
Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, which has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure. Regular dental check-ups, brushing, flossing, and mouthwash can help maintain your oral health and potentially lower your blood pressure.
8. Excessive Salt in Processed Foods
We all know that consuming too much salt is bad for blood pressure, but it's not just the salt shaker that's to blame. Many processed foods are packed with hidden sodium. Read labels carefully and opt for low-sodium alternatives whenever possible.
9. Lack of Sleep
Chronic sleep deprivation can significantly raise your blood pressure. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support overall health and maintain a healthy blood pressure level.
10. Temperature Extremes
Both extreme heat and cold can strain your cardiovascular system, potentially causing a spike in blood pressure. Be mindful of temperature changes and take appropriate measures to stay comfortable in extreme weather conditions.
A demanding job or working long hours without sufficient breaks can contribute to chronic stress, which is a known risk factor for hypertension. Practice stress-reduction techniques and prioritize work-life balance to keep your blood pressure in check.
Your body needs an adequate amount of fluids to maintain normal blood pressure levels. Dehydration can cause your blood vessels to constrict, leading to elevated blood pressure. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Also see: How Dehydration Affects Blood Pressure
It’s important not to overlook the biggest drivers of high blood pressure in the U.S., chief of which is weight. If you’re overweight, losing even a few pounds can have a big impact on blood pressure — you can reduce your numbers by 1 mm Hg for every 2.2 pounds you lose, according to the Mayo Clinic.
And don’t discount your diet. Americans consume, on average, about 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, the majority coming from packaged foods and restaurant meals. That number should be closer to 1,500 milligrams, the American Heart Association says.
There is too much sodium in our food supply, we are not getting enough physical activity, we are gaining too much weight, and we are drinking too much alcohol, and every single one of those things contributes to increasing blood pressure levels.
To stay on top of your blood pressure, take your measurements often. If you notice your blood pressure is starting to increase or if it’s already elevated (a systolic, or top, number that’s less than 120 and a diastolic, bottom, number less than 80 is considered normal), it’s important to be careful around the foods and habits that can make it worse.
Why is high blood pressure dangerous?
High blood pressure — also known as hypertension and called the “silent killer” because it often comes with no symptoms — can wreak havoc on the body, causing damage to the blood vessels, heart, brain, kidneys, eyes and more. If left undetected or uncontrolled it can lead to:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
- Vision loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Peripheral artery disease
As per American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, It’s estimated that nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure; only about 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have it under control.
Remember, this blog provides general information and should not replace professional medical advice. It’s also important to work with a doctor to find the best way to control it, be it with medications, lifestyle changes or both. It's also advisable to seek professional help from your healthcare provider or call or visit our Closest Emergency Room for medical help. We have board-certified physicians, nurses and staff to help you recover and give appropriate treatment and medical advice.
We have ER locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area that are open and here to help you 24/7 If you or your family have a medical emergency.
We have 9 facilities spread across the DFW area with average wait times of less than 10 mins that are OPEN 24/7 located in Hurst, Colleyville, Frisco, Highland Village, Hillcrest, Uptown, Little Elm, Mansfield, and Texoma.