Top 3 Reasons for High Blood Pressure
Approximately 1 in 3 adults suffers from high blood pressure (or hypertension). Termed the “silent killer” due to the lack of symptoms it presents, high blood pressure can lead to a host of complications and long-term diseases (such as heart disease). High blood pressure is also the 2nd leading cause of chronic kidney disease. What exactly is high blood pressure though? What are common causes for it? And can you prevent it?
To start, let’s talk about blood pressure in general. You’re probably quite familiar with the term as your doctor will take your blood pressure every time you see them (for anything) but what exactly are they measuring? Simply put, when your heart beats it pushes blood through your arteries. As this occurs the blood puts pressure on your artery walls - hence “blood pressure”.
Then what does it mean when your blood pressure is high? Basically, exactly what it sounds like - when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than is normal. If this continues for a long time or if it gets too high at any one given time, you’ll be at a higher risk for stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure.
There are lots of different things that can cause high blood pressure, but let’s take a look at the top 3 reasons it exists.
1. Stress - stress can cause short-term blood pressure spikes. You know what we mean, you’re having a bad day at work, then get home to find the kids have destroyed the house, and suddenly you feel your heart beating faster and you’re getting hot. That’s because stress causes your body to produce a surge of hormones that briefly increases your blood pressure. In the long-term, how you react to stress can affect your blood pressure greatly. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and bingeing on comfort foods can all raise your blood pressure.
2. Improper diet - obviously what you eat affects your body & health in a variety of ways. When it comes to blood pressure, as body weight increases it rises. In fact, obese people are 2 to 6 times more likely to have high blood pressure than people in a healthy weight range. Then there’s sodium to consider. A diet high in sodium (such as one containing mostly fast foods and processed foods) will see blood pressure soar higher in some people.
3. Sedentary lifestyle - a lack of exercise contributes to the development of obesity and high blood pressure. Physical activity is great for your heart and circulatory system in general, and blood pressure is no exception.
There are also plenty of ways that you can decrease your blood pressure and keep it down.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet.
3. Lose weight, if needed.
4. Stop smoking.
5. Lower your salt intake.
6. Reduce the amount of alcohol you consume.
7. Learn relaxation methods (such as meditation or yoga).
8. See how your family history affects your blood pressure.
When it comes to eating a diet that’s well-balanced, healthy, and delicious, it can sometimes seem an impossible feat. That’s why we created a menu and weekly meal plans where each meal contains 500 milligrams or less of sodium, to meet the American Heart Association's (AHA) recommendation of maintaining a diet of 1,500 milligrams per day. We also created a menu of low-fat meals consisting of meals restricted to less than 13 mg of total fat and less than 5 mg of saturated fat. It’s our small way of helping you on your journey to good health and delicious eating.