High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a common problem that affects the arteries in the body. It happens when the blood is constantly pushing too hard against the walls of the arteries, making the heart work harder to pump blood. Some things that put you at risk for high blood pressure, like getting older and having a history of it in your family, can’t be changed. However, there are some everyday habits that can make you more likely to get high blood pressure. Some of these habits are eating poorly, not being active, smoking, drinking too much booze, and being stressed out. Luckily, changing these habits can help prevent and control high blood pressure, lowering the risk of major health problems like heart attack and heart disease.
WHAT ARE THE EVERYDAY HABITS THAT CAUSES BLOOD PRESSURE?
1. SEDENTARY LIFESTLYE
A sedentary lifestyle, which means not doing much physical exercise or staying still for long periods of time, can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension) in several ways:
Weight Gain: Being inactive often leads to weight gain or obesity, which is a major risk factor for high blood pressure. When a person is overweight, their heart and blood vessels have to work harder, which can cause their blood pressure to rise.
Cardiovascular fitness is lower: Regular exercise makes the heart stronger and improves cardiovascular fitness. When you work out, your heart pumps blood more efficiently, so your resting heart rate and blood pressure go down. On the other hand, sitting around all day weakens the heart muscle and makes it less able to pump blood well, which can lead to higher blood pressure.
Poor Circulation: If you sit for a long time, blood can pool in your legs and feet, which can slow down the flow of blood. This can make the blood vessels work harder and cause the blood pressure to go up.
Increased Sodium Retention: Being inactive is often linked to bad eating habits, such as taking in more sodium (salt). Too much salt can cause the body to hold on to water, which raises blood volume and, in turn, blood pressure.
Hormonal Imbalances: Regular physical exercise helps control hormones like adrenaline and insulin that help control blood pressure. When you don't move much, these chemical systems may get out of whack, which could make you more likely to gain weight.
2. POOR DIET
A bad diet can make it easier for people to get high blood pressure (hypertension) in several ways:
High Sodium Intake: Eating a lot of sodium (salt) is often a risk factor for high blood pressure. Too much salt in the diet can cause the body to hold on to water, which raises blood volume and, in turn, blood pressure. This is because sodium draws water to itself and can throw off the body's balance of fluids.
Potassium is an important chemical that helps keep blood pressure at a healthy level. The delicate balance between potassium and sodium can be upset by a diet that is low in potassium and high in sodium. Potassium helps the body get rid of extra sodium through urine. It also relaxes the walls of blood vessels, which helps lower blood pressure. If you don't get enough potassium, these processes can be slowed down, which can lead to high blood pressure.
Lack of Nutrients: A bad diet that is low in important nutrients like magnesium and fiber can also have an effect on blood pressure. Magnesium helps control the tone of blood vessels and the general health of the heart and blood vessels. If you don't get enough magnesium, your blood vessels may narrow and your blood pressure may go up. High blood pressure has also been linked to a diet low in fiber, which is usually found in fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Foods that are high in fiber have been shown to help control blood pressure.
Weight Gain and Obesity: Bad food choices, like eating too many calories, bad fats, and sugary drinks, can lead to weight gain and obesity. High blood pressure is more likely to happen to people who are overweight. Extra weight puts stress on the heart and blood vessels, which raises blood pressure. This risk can be made worse by unhealthy meals that make people gain weight.
Blood vessel damage and inflammation can be caused by diets high in fatty and trans fats, cholesterol, and processed foods. This can lead to atherosclerosis, which is when plaque builds up in the arteries. This plaque can make the blood vessels smaller and make it harder for the blood to move, which can raise blood pressure. Also, these bad eating habits can cause inflammation in the body, including in the blood vessels, which makes hypertension worse.
3. EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
High blood pressure (hypertension) can be caused by drinking too much alcohol in several ways:
Increased Activity of the Sympathetic Nervous System: Alcohol can increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many body processes, including blood pressure. When the sympathetic nervous system is turned on, it can make blood vessels shrink (vasoconstriction), the heart beat faster, and blood pressure go up.
Directly Toxic Effects on Blood Vessels: Alcohol is toxic to the cells that line the blood vessels, causing inflammation and damage. Because of this damage, blood vessels can get thicker and narrower, making it harder for blood to flow through them. This can make blood pressure go up.
Hormone Balance: Alcohol can throw off the careful balance of hormones that help control blood pressure. When people drink too much alcohol over a long period of time, their hormones can get out of balance. This can cause stress hormones like cortisol to rise, which can raise blood pressure.
Alcohol can make it harder for the kidneys to control the amount of sodium in the body, which can lead to more sodium retention. This can cause the body to hold on to sodium, which can lead to fluid buildup and a larger blood volume, both of which raise blood pressure.
Weight Gain and Obesity: Alcoholic drinks often have a lot of calories, which can lead to weight gain and obesity if you drink too much of them. Hypertension is known to be linked to being overweight. Extra weight puts stress on the heart and blood vessels, which raises blood pressure.
4. SMOKING TOBACCO
Smoking and using tobacco can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension) in different ways:
Blood Vessels Narrowing: Chemicals in tobacco smoke, like nicotine, can cause blood vessels to narrow or contract. This narrowing makes the peripheral resistance go up. This makes it harder for blood to flow through the narrowed blood vessels, which raises blood pressure.
Increased Heart Rate: When you smoke or use tobacco, stress chemicals like adrenaline are released more quickly. These factors make the heart beat faster and work harder, which can cause blood pressure to go up.
Damage to the Walls of Blood Vessels: The dangerous chemicals in tobacco smoke can hurt the endothelium, which is the lining of blood vessels. This damage can cause inflammation, the buildup of plaque, and atherosclerosis, which is when the arteries get hard and narrow. Changes in the blood vessels like these can lead to high blood pressure.
Less Oxygen: When you smoke or use tobacco, the amount of oxygen that gets to your tissues and systems, including your heart, goes down. This can cause the heart to work harder, which can raise blood pressure.
Increased Blood Clotting: Tobacco smoke can make platelets stick together and blood clot more, which makes it more likely that blood clots will form in blood vessels. These blood clots can make the blood vessels even narrower and cause the blood pressure to go up.
5. CHRONIC STRESS OR WORRY
Chronic worry can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension) in a number of ways, both physical and behavioral:
Activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System: Cortisol and adrenaline, which are stress hormones, are released when there is long-term worry. This turns on the sympathetic nervous system. The "fight-or-flight" reaction is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. This response causes the heart rate to speed up, blood vessels to narrow, and blood pressure to rise.
Heart Rate and Cardiac Output Go Up: Long-term worry can cause your heart rate to stay high. When the heart beats faster, it moves more blood with each beat. This increases the heart's output, or cardiac output. This higher heart rate can make the blood pressure go up.
Vasoconstriction: Stress can cause the blood vessels to tighten or shrink, which raises the resistance of the blood flow to the body's edges. This makes it harder for blood to flow through the shortened blood vessels, which can raise blood pressure.
Unhealthy Ways to Cope: Chronic worry often leads to unhealthy ways to deal with it, like overeating, drinking too much, or smoking. These actions can cause high blood pressure on their own, and they can make the effects of worry on blood pressure regulation even worse.
Stress that lasts for a long time can mess up the usual balance of hormones in the body, including hormones that help control blood pressure. Chronic worry can cause stress hormones like cortisol to rise, which can cause blood pressure to go up.
About the Creator
I am a passionate content creator with a strong focus on health and wellness. While my educational background lies in a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance, it is my innate desire to help people feel good about themselves in mind, body&soul