The #1 Cause of High Blood Pressure According to Science — Eat This, Not That

High blood pressure is a common condition that affects nearly half of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems such as stroke, heart failure, dementia, and more. Eat this, not that! Health spoke with Dr. Tommy Mitchell, a board-certified family physician with Holistic wellness strategies which explained who is at risk of high blood pressure and the main causes. Read on – and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss them Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.

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Dr. Mitchell says, “Blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries. The heart pumps blood into the arteries (blood vessels), carrying blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, occurs when this force is too high. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the chance of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other problems. Your blood pressure readings have systolic ( upper) and diastolic (lower) number. Systolic pressure measures the force when your heart muscle contracts and pushes blood out. Diastolic pressure measures the force when your heart is resting between beats. A typical adult’s blood pressure should be below 120/80 mmHg. If your reading is consistently above this number, it means you have high blood pressure. There are several things you can do to lower your blood pressure, such as eating healthier and exercising regularly. You may also need medication , if these lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your blood pressure.”

A woman has a blood pressure of 120/80.

Dr. Mitchell tells us: “High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition in which the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries is too high. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). A regular blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mmHg. A reading of 1300/80 mmHg or higher is considered high. However, these “normal values” are not fixed. These numbers may now apply to you depending on your age and medical conditions.

High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and other health problems if left unchecked. That’s why it’s important to keep track of your numbers and see your doctor regularly. Unfortunately, there are often no symptoms of high blood pressure, so the only way to know if yours is high is to have it checked by a medical professional. Many people with high blood pressure can lower their numbers by making lifestyle changes and taking prescribed medications. So if you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about how you can lower your blood pressure.”

man with headache holding water

According to Dr. Mitchell, “Many people with high blood pressure experience no symptoms, which is why it is often called the ‘silent killer.’ However, there are some things you can look for that may be indicative of high blood pressure. These include headaches, vision problems, shortness of breath, nosebleeds and anxiety. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, you should talk to your doctor about checking your blood pressure.

a man having his blood pressure checked
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About forty-seven percent of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While high blood pressure can affect anyone, certain factors can increase your risk. For example, age is a significant risk factor for high blood pressure. The CDC reports that people age 45 and older are more likely to develop high blood pressure than younger adults. In addition, weight, family history, and sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure. If you have any of these risk factors, you should talk to your doctor about ways to keep your blood pressure under control. Reducing your risk can help you keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.”

stressed woman

Dr Mitchell says: “There are many potential causes of high blood pressure and it can often be a combination of factors that lead to the condition. Some of the most common reasons include:

  1. Obesity or being overweight – being overweight puts extra strain on the heart and blood vessels and can lead to high blood pressure. Being overweight is probably the most significant risk factor for hypertension. Currently, about forty-one percent of US adults are obese, and about 70% of adults are either obese or overweight.
  2. Lack of physical activity – regular exercise helps keep the arteries clear and reduces the risk of high blood pressure.
  3. Poor diet – diets high in salt, fat and cholesterol can contribute to high blood pressure.
  4. Smoking – nicotine constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure.
  5. Stress – Both emotional and physical stress can cause blood pressure to rise.”
women taking a workout selfie in the mirror

“The good news is that you can take steps to prevent or manage high blood pressure,” emphasizes Dr. Mitchell. “Many risk factors for high blood pressure, such as obesity and stress, can be controlled through lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly can help you keep your blood pressure under control. In addition, managing stress through relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can also help reduce the risk of developing hypertension. For example, if you already have high blood pressure, there are medications available that can help you control it. Finally , work with your healthcare provider to find your best treatment plan. Taking steps to prevent or manage high blood pressure can help protect your health and reduce your risk of developing serious complications.”

Dr. Mitchell says this “does not constitute medical advice, and by no means are these answers intended to be comprehensive. Rather, they are to encourage discussions about health choices.”

Heather Newgen

Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more

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