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Here’s something that might surprise you: Over 80 million American adults have high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. The most frightening part about it, however, is that because of its lack of symptoms, this condition often goes undetected and untreated. It’s extremely important to get regular checkups from your physician and to monitor certain factors in your life in order to avoid this major problem.

What Even Is High Blood Pressure?

Every person has blood pressure. As your heart pumps, your blood flows throughout your body, putting pressure on the walls of your arteries. While the normal range is less than 120 for systolic pressure and less than 80 for diastolic pressure, high blood pressure occurs when your blood flows above that range.

The higher your body is above that range, the more at risk you are for serious health complications like having a stroke or contracting heart disease. If you already have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, but you’re unsure why, here are some of the most common causes that you should become familiar with.

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Poor Diet

You’ve probably heard of this one many times before because of how common it is amongst people who have hypertension. A diet that’s high in things like salt, fat, and cholesterol can raise your blood pressure exponentially. For example, consuming too much sodium in salty foods causes your body to hold extra water in order to flush the salt out, putting stress on your heart and blood vessels.

Most if not all physicians will tell you one of the first steps to take in order to avoid high blood pressure or lower it is to simply have a better diet. Eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while also eating less saturated fat and whole-dairy products can significantly help keep your blood pressure in check.

Fat Man with Doctor in White Coat in Gray Room.
Fat Man with Doctor in White Coat in Gray Room. Woman with Tailors Centimeter. Diet and Healthcare Concept. Man with Bulimia. Unhealthy Lifestyle Concept. Man with Overweight. Patient with Stomach.

Lack of Exercise

Also, a very common cause of blood pressure that is abnormally high, a lack of physical activity can cause more stress on your heart. Exercising daily will train your heart to be stronger and be able to pump blood more easily. If you have hypertension, it causes a strain on your heart and arteries to put more force and pressure into pumping your blood. Once your body gets accustomed to physical activity, your heart will need less work to pump blood, thus lowering your blood pressure. Usually, doctors will recommend both a healthy diet and regular exercise to lower a patient’s blood pressure.

Stress

This sneaky way of increasing your heart rate and blood pressure is actually more common than you think. Although researchers are still looking into whether or not long-term stress can cause long-term high blood pressure, it is true that the release of stress hormones causes your blood vessels to constrict and your heart rate to speed up, increasing your blood pressure.

Although this is temporary and goes away when you are no longer stressed out, many people with chronic stress also experience high blood pressure because their bodies are releasing too many stress hormones for a long period of time. Relaxation methods and stress management can help you control your body’s hormone release so that your blood pressure is not too high.

Because it’s so hard to tell whether or not your blood pressure is high, getting regular checkups from a physician is key. Keep in mind that your high blood pressure could be the result of other factors or a combination of the aforementioned ones.  Our highly trained and experienced doctors can help you determine if you do indeed have hypertension, what’s causing it, and how you can treat it. We would love for you to stop by one of our Fox Medical Center locations!



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