1 in 3 adults in the U.S. suffers from high blood pressure. That’s over 75 million people! But why? Am I smoking too much? Is loneliness a factor? Hang on, is waiting too long to go to the bathroom heightening it? We’re talking about all of that AND more… Let’s talk 8 Things That Are Increasing Your Blood Pressure.
1. Waiting too long to use the facilities
Yes, we’re starting out strong. We’ve all been there. Desperately running around trying to find the bathroom when there’s none in sight.
While you’re busy focusing on how uncomfortable it is, there’s something else you need to take into account. Waiting to go to the bathroom can actually affect your blood pressure.
Studies show that emptying your bladder can lower your blood pressure significantly, especially after waiting extended periods of time. Urinary retention, the inability to fully empty your bladder or even start urinating, is shown to spike your blood pressure level.
If your urinary tract becomes infected, this can eventually lead to a high blood pressure reading as well as kidney damage.
It’s about to get dark. Who knew that spending massive amounts of time alone can increase your blood pressure. The truth is that life can get lonely, which can take a terrible toll on our health. Before I explain any further, I think I need to bring up millimeters of mercury or “mmHg”– A little metric system action for you guys! This is what they measure your blood pressure by.
In a 2010 study, researchers found that those experiencing feelings of loneliness had a blood pressure increase of about 2mmHg. While this is a relatively minor difference from those who weren’t feeling lonely, an increase in blood pressure can potentially lead to a heart attack, stroke, or kidney problems.
3. Waiting in the doctor’s office
This is another experience we’ve all had or at least one we’ll all have in time. The waiting room at a doctor’s office can be a cesspool of anxiety. Your knee nervously shaking as you sit upright in your chair, awaiting crucial results from an exam. It’s simply terrifying.
The average wait time for U.S. doctor’s offices is around 20 minutes. While this amount of time would seem like nothing anywhere else, it could feel like a year at the doctor’s office. This is why many waiting rooms have monitor machines available for patients to measure their blood pressure.
Doctors can keep tabs on those with abnormal readings while they’re awaiting treatment. Blood pressure monitors also allow patients to educate themselves on the importance of taking control of their measurements.
4. Sleep Deprivation
There’s a lot of things that surprisingly spike your blood pressure, but losing sleep? C’mon now. The average adult is recommended to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Any less can affect your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will directly cause your blood pressure to increase.
People who suffer from sleep apnea are also vulnerable to this increase. As if sleep apnea wasn’t frightening already. For those of you fortunate enough not to know about this affliction, sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which a patient stops breathing while asleep, only to start again.
When this happens, your blood oxygen level drops, resulting in an increase in heart problems and blood pressure.
5. Smoking cigarettes
Let’s face it, this one ain’t exactly a curveball. Of course, smoking hurts your blood pressure! Remember a minute ago when we discussed millimeters of mercury?
While smoking a cigarette, your blood pressure will immediately see a rise anywhere between 5 to 10mmHg. After about 20 minutes, it’s said to return back to normal. A smoking habit can narrow your arteries, leading to things such as… You guessed it! Heart disease and stroke!
We can’t say this with enough emphasis, drink your water, people! In the world of high blood pressure, nothing spells it out quite like missing out on fluids. When one becomes dehydrated, your body works to constrict your blood vessels.
This eventually results in an increase in blood pressure, which can lead to hypertension. We’re not saying you should be carrying your own personal water bottle is going to prevent all of this… But it will.
Is there anything that can’t increase your blood pressure at this point? I mean it’s very disconcerting when substances we take to improve our health are also hurting us. Just take antidepressants. Wait, I don’t mean take antidepressants as in “you need them”. I mean just listen to this ex– You know what nevermind.
Antidepressants drastically affect your blood pressure over time! Are you familiar with the chemicals serotonin and dopamine? I’m sure you’ve heard of them, but I’ll explain anyway just to hear myself talk. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter meant to help your brain regulate things like mood, appetite, and social behavior among others.
Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that assists your body with motivation and movement. When a patient consumes antidepressants, their body’s reaction to serotonin and dopamine changes. This causes internal tension, resulting in your blood pressure rising. But it’s not just antidepressants. Depression alone can be a heavy burden on your physical health.
While many of you probably associate high blood pressure with anxiety or paranoia, a feeling of emotional despair can cause hypertension as well. This is likely fueled by two other factors we’ve discussed, smoking and sleep deprivation.
In a study of 3000 adults during the 1970s, researchers initially took note of how each person was feeling mentally. When the researchers measure their blood years later, they discovered that those who reported depression and anxiety were two to three times more likely to have hypertension.
8. Eating seafood
Remember how it seemed like almost anything could cause your blood pressure to shoot up? There’s no doubt a steady diet of creamy food can lead to hypertension, but seafood? Give me a break. We’ve all heard about seafood’s health benefits. It’s low in fat, low in cholesterol, and high in protein. But the sodium… My the sodium.
Health professionals recommend you consume no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day. Did you know that the average can of tuna contains over 300mg? Doesn’t seem like that much right? Well, a serving of crab legs contains as much as 800 to 1000 mg of sodium.
If I were you, I’d skip that new seafood restaurant down the street. Put both tuna and crab legs together and your hearts in for one heck of a wild ride. When you consume too much salt, your body will hold onto whatever water it can in order to flush it out of your system.
As a result, the water will put pressure on your heart and blood vessels, causing your blood pressure to rise. Clear my schedule guys, I’ll be spending the next few hours cleaning out my freezer.