Unusual causes of high blood pressure 51



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High blood pressure or hypertension, is one of the most common conditions that people face with age. This is when the heart is pumping blood through your arteries at a high pressure than it normally would. Although it doesn’t sound serious, the complications that can arise as a result of high blood pressure are – heart attack, stroke and kidney failure can be the results of unmanaged and untreated high blood pressure.

There are treatment options including medication, however lifestyle changes play a big role. Diet, weight, exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking can all influence your blood pressure. However, there are causes that are less well known but equally as serious.

Here are five unusual and surprising things that can cause high blood pressure. It’s a good idea to do a lifestyle check from time to time to make sure we are living healthily and aren’t putting ourselves at unnecessary risk so here are some extra things to factor in:


1. BPA 

A study in the journal, Hypertension has found that the chemical BPA when in the body, could raise blood pressure. BPA is found in the lining of plastic, disposable bottles and some cans. It has been known for some time that BPA had negative health impacts on the body with studies linking it to heart disease and some types of cancers. Medical professionals recommend that we use BPA free products as often as possible and avoid microwaving plastic food containers made with BPA. it is believed that the plastic becomes dangerous once it has been heated.

2. Loneliness

A study from the University of Chicago found a direct correlation between loneliness and high blood pressure in people 50 years and over. The five year study was the first to analyse the effects of loneliness on blood pressure after previous studies had concluded loneliness did have negative impacts on health. Friendship expert, Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., who is also a professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine said, “Set aside time for friendships, but recognise that not all of them last forever. That’s why it’s important to cultivate new friendships, too,”

3. Thyroid problems 

The journal, Hypertension also published a study in 2007 that suggested a correlation between hypothyroidism (when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone) and high blood pressure. Hypothyroidism can also cause the metabolism to slow down which causes many other health complications.

4. Sleep apnea 

Sleep apnea is a common condition and it becomes even more frequent as we age. The National Sleep Foundation in the US says that the interrupted breathing reduces oxygen flow to the body. As this falls the body puts more effort into pushing it around the body and therefore it increases the blood pressure. Weight is a significant contributing factor to sleep apnea but it can affect anyone. Assisted breathing devices are sometimes used to remedy sleep apnea as well as surgical procedures.

5. Excess sugar and sodium (salt)

As the sodium in our diet increases and more enters the blood stream, the blood vessels retain water in an attempt to balance the sodium concentration. This extra water increases the total volume in the blood vessels and this causes high blood pressure. Sugar has also recently been found as a cause of high blood pressure with several studies finding that reduced sugar intake correlated with reduced blood pressure. Reducing the sodium and sugar in your diet is a healthy move for anyone.

Give yourself the best chance of living a healthy life by running a health check on these risk factors every once in a while.

Tell us, do you have high blood pressure? What are your currently doing to manage it? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Yes, I have hypertension. In my case, it is a family predisposition. However, I have found that it has improved a little since I lost weight. Exercise is good for controlling BP as well. And I limit my caffeine intake. Who knows, I may be able to halve my medication if things keep improving.

  2. I have it due to kidney problems I think and a mum and grandmother that had it too I recently found I have food allergies and had to change my diet I have lost ten kilos Feel much better can now spend a couple of hour a day tidying my garden ect And now take half the amount of medication I took before.

  3. I normally have low BP, which can also be a bit of a problem. Been like that all my life.

  4. Having my Dad die at 37 from hypertension 59 years ago and also Mum who had high blood pressure, I knew that I had to be aware.Probably began medication at about 55 ,eight years ago. About 15 months ago I decided to give up salt which to me was like cutting off my head ( loved my salt) whilst also dieting. Keep daily blood pressure records for my doctor and found my pressure getting under the 100’s and halved my medication from 16mg to 8mg until I saw my GP. He told me to stay at that. Even now I keep records because as I am losing weight my pressures are becoming low again. Hopefully I’ll be able to stop altogether and with my family history, I realise how other lifestyle issues do affect your health. Never smoked, don’t drink, have to watch my diet as family tendencies to put on weight so I know that giving up my beloved salt was well worth it. Also cut out in sugar in coffee cereals,coffee,tea etc; years ago. Just have to get back to my walking for my exercise. (Too hot for me at the moment).

    7 REPLY
    • I resisted taking any medication until at 64 when told by my doctor if I didn’t lower my blood pressure it could mean a stroke or heart attack, so at 64 I am on low dose blood pressure tablets..and my only failing is not enough planned exercise

    • Same here Sue. We run around so much with appointments, grandchildren’s school and sports events.Just finished renovating youngest single daughter’s house. Lounge and dining rooms fully prepared and 3 coats of paint, television put up on wall,10 down lights fitted,5 blinds erected and pelmets re-upholstered. Took 9 days straight of 12 to 15 hour days. You think that would be enough exercise but as you say we are completely buggered. Very sore but very proud of my husband who has been very ill the last 3 years ( sepsis shock early ,nearly died a few times,5 months in intensive care,2 years on dialysis and a kidney transplant a year ago. Sorry to waffle on but I am very proud of this accomplishment.Mentally very rewarding for him to be able to achieve what he was able to do but completely exhausted. Take us a few days before we tackle our front and backyards which have been neglected. Happy exercising Sue!!

    • I too need to excercise more often just getting the motivation and yes it’s too hot at the moment. Hope your husband continues to get better Sue, good luck :-))

    • My husband is Thomas O’Shea and he has an Aunty Fay but on his mother’s side being a Kelly. Coincidence maybe?

    • Give up salt can be as dangerous as too much salt. I wouldn’t do this. I remember in the early 70’s when I arrived to Australia at the first time, everything was salted. Even the torte and other sweet cakes. Suddenly it’s changed completely to the opposite. No good at all. People do not know the golden middle way.

  5. Yep having no thyroid due to thyroid cancer and having weight issues and not sleeping properly and I live alone with my 16 yr old grand daughter too

  6. Have always been blessed with what my doctor describes as “beautiful blood pressure”. I consider myself very lucky.

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