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:
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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.
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.
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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?