Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, is considered a “Disease of Lifestyle”. What that means is that it is a disease associated with the way a person or group of people live. Why is this important? Well, it’s important because it means that the way you are currently living your life has a direct affect on your health. This also means that you can change some things about the way you live in order to drastically improve your health.
Behaviors that Increase Hypertension Risk
There are 6 key behaviors that will greatly increase your risk for having high blood pressure. Look them over and see how you might be able to modify some of these behaviors in your own life in order to grow healthier by the day:
- Physical Inactivity – living a sedentary life, not moving much, is a huge stressor on your body. Our bodies were designed to MOVE. When we sit down for most of our day, we increase our stress level as well as increase the chances for weight gain. Both of these have HUGE impacts on our blood pressure over time. How much do you move throughout the day?
- Poor Stress Management – We all experience stress. What makes each of us different is how we handle that stress. If you never learn how to manage it well, your blood pressure will continue to rise. On top of that, many of us stress-eat which increases your risk of gaining weight. Weight gain is direct correlation to high blood pressure.
- Unhealthy Diet – Eating foods that are high in sodium, sugar, artificial sweeteners, oils, and simple carbohydrates are known to cause hypertension, obesity, and nutrient deficiencies. Also eating foods that are low in magnesium, potassium, and fiber will contribute to all of the lifestyle diseases including hypertension.
- Too much Alcohol – The more alcohol you drink on a daily / regular basis, the more your blood pressure will likely creep up. Alcohol has a great effect on the liver which can contribute to blood pressure increases. It also is a source of empty calories which can increase weight which can also lead to high BP readings.
- Obesity – for all the reasons listed above, obesity is on the rise. While it is rising, so is our blood pressure. Getting a handle on weight gain will help you get a handle on your blood pressure.
- Tobacco Use – Using tobacco in ANY form, will increase your risk for higher blood pressure. Nicotine raises blood pressure. The carbon monoxide from the smoke decreases the amount of oxygen the blood can carry, which makes the heart have to work more to get oxygen to your organs. And all tobacco products can increase the damage done to the heart and blood vessels over time.
What can you do?
Knowing what can raise blood pressure is helpful because it tells you what you can do about it. Thinking about your daily habits and activities, which of these behaviors can you begin to modify right now?
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