Health

High blood pressure – Causes, symptoms, and foods to avoid

High blood pressure is one of the major health issues that has captured the entire United States of America. Nearly ⅓ of Americans are suffering from high blood pressure issues.

The rest of us aren’t immune to that issue yet. One in every third of us also has blood pressure higher than the normal level.

Let’s discuss High blood pressure or Hypertension in a detailed manner.

High blood pressure
Image by Gerald Oswald from Pixabay

What is high blood pressure or hypertension?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be detected if your blood pressure level increases to a certain unhealthy point.

The heart pumps blood into blood vessels, which carry the blood throughout the body.

The blood pressure can be determined by analyzing how much blood is moving through your blood vessels (arteries) and the amount of pressure generated when the heart is pumping blood.

You’ll have high blood pressure when blood pressure reading is persistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.

When your arteries become narrow due to different reasons, it increases the resistance and increases pressure in the blood flow.

The narrower your arteries become, the higher your blood pressure will be. If you do not entertain the increased blood pressure for a long time, it may cause serious health issues such as – damaging to your blood vessels and organs, the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys.

High blood pressure or Hypertension do not develop in one day or one month, it’ll require several years of an unhealthy lifestyle.

But doctors also indicates that high blood pressure can develop due to genetic reasons, within a family.

What Is “Normal” Blood Pressure?

A blood pressure reading can be shown – 120/80. Doctors will read the blood pressure as “120 over 80.”

The first number is called the systolic, and the latter one is called the diastolic.

Blood pressure ranges:

  • Less than 120 over less than 80 (120/80) – Normal
  • 120-129/less than 80 – Elevated
  • 130-139/80-89 – High blood pressure (Stage 1)
  • 140 and above/90 and above – High blood pressure (Stage 2)
  • Higher than 180/higher than 120 – Hypertension crisis. Consult the doctor asap.

Data source – health.harvard.edu

You might overlook the symptoms in the first place. But like other serious health issues, blood pressure symptoms are the indicators that now it’s the time to take care of your health a bit seriously.

Do you know about all the causes and symptoms of high blood pressure? Let’s have a look.

What causes high blood pressure?

You may categorize the causes of high blood pressure into two parts:

  • Essential high blood pressure – This type of high blood pressure has no established cause.
  • Secondary high blood pressure – Another health problem is causing increased blood pressure.

Hypertension is generally a silent condition.

It may take time to reach levels that show extreme symptoms. But still, few common symptoms may signify severe hypertension:

  • Sex – Normally, adult men are more prone to high blood pressure than adult women. However, after the age of 55 years, a woman’s risk of hypertension increases.
  • Age – The risk of high blood pressure may increase with age as the blood vessels become less flexible.
  • Genetic reasons – High blood pressure may develop due to genetic reasons. If any close family member has hypertension, you may have a significantly higher risk of developing it.
  • SmokingSmoking or tobacco causes the blood vessels to narrow as well as lowers oxygen level, resulting in higher blood pressure.
  • Alcohol consumption – Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can increase the chances of blood pressure as well as increase the risk of kidney failure.
  • Poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle – A diet consist of fats and salt may cause hypertension. Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for health.
  • Obesity – People who are overweight or have obesity are prone to high blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol – It is another related reason for hypertension. Cholesterol builds up in the arteries causes high blood pressure.
  • Mental stress – Mental stress is the most common reasons for severe blood pressure. Too much stress and anxiety due to several psychosocial and socioeconomic factors may boost the risk of hypertension.
  • Diabetes – People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing hypertension.
  • Sleeping disorder – Sleeping disorder increases mental health disorder such as depression, stomach disorder, sugar level, which might also lead to hypertension.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

  1. a) Newborns and very young babies have the following signs and symptoms:
  • Lethargy
  • Irritation
  • Lack of activity
  • seizures
  • Respiratory issues
  1. b) Kids suffering from high blood pressure may have the following symptoms:
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Severe headache
  • blurred vision
  • fatigue
  • nosebleeds
  1. c) In adults, high blood pressure symptoms are:
  • Severe headache
  • shortness of breath
  • heart palpitations
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • flushing
  • chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • blood in the urine
  • blurred or double vision
  • nosebleeds

Whether you are suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure), or pre-hypertension, you may improve your health by some simple dietary modifications.

Research has shown that you can reduce your blood pressure by eating a healthy diet and avoiding some special food.

Do you know what to avoid if you have such a health condition? Check out the list given below.

High blood pressure foods to avoid
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Food and drinks to avoid in high blood pressure

1. Salt

Salt and sodium are the most dangerous things that people should not consume when they have high blood pressure and heart disease.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for AmericansTrusted Source prescribed that if you have high blood pressure, then you shouldn’t intake sodium more than 1,500 milligrams (mg) daily. The average American consumes about 3,400 mg a day, which is more than twice the limit.

Also, the Food and Drug AdministrationTrusted Source has reported that nearly 75% of the sodium we eat is coming from processed foods and salty foods at restaurants.

Some of the saltiest packaged foods that everyone should avoid:

  • Vegetable juices
  • frozen pizza
  • Canned soup
  • Fries and processed meat

2. Sugar

Too much sugar can increase your weight and boost obesity. But many of us don’t know that high sugar intake also triggers high blood pressure.

Sugar especially sweetened drinks such as sodas, processed fruit juices are very harmful to health and increases obesity.

People who are overweight or obese are the most common patients of high blood pressure.

The American Heart Association suggests that women shouldn’t intake sugar more than 6 teaspoons, or 24 grams per day. Men may also follow the same path by limiting their sugar intake to 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams per day.

3. Alcohol

Small to moderate amounts of alcohol may help you lower your blood pressure. But excessive drinking can increase it drastically.

Most of the doctors suggest that you should limit your drinking by having three drinks at once, not more than that. Drinking over your limit can surely lead to long-term blood pressure issues.

Alcohol also prevents your blood pressure medications to cure your body and delay the process. Apart from that alcohol makes you overweight as it is full of calories.

4. Coffee

Researchers found that there is a significant relationship between caffeine intake and blood pressure. They suggest that by moderating caffeine intake (coffee) people with high blood pressure can be benefitted.

5. Cured hams

Cured ham is rich with sodium, a 28-gram boneless cured ham has 172 milligrams of sodium and 15 grams of fat.

A moderately portioned four-ounce slice of ham has about 688 grams of sodium. So, it is suggested that avoid sured ham as much as possible.

You can have it during festivals but in a moderate amount.

6. Canned tomato products

Tomato sauces, pastes, and ketchup are often prepared with too much salt. So, you should avoid such products as much as possible.

Create your tomato sauce or puree at home, and store in a cool/dry place, it’ll last long without preservatives.

7. Cheese

Cheese is harmful to your heart. Roquefort cheese contains 507 milligrams (21% of the recommended daily intake) of sodium per 28- gram serving.

So, if you love cheese, then choose grilled cheese and have as little as possible.

9. Pastries

Any kind of pastries such as doughnuts, cakes, and cookies are full of flour, eggs, and sugar.

This combination is ideal for weight gain and enhances obesity. So, it obviously increases hypertension.

9. Sauerkraut

Do not eat sauerkraut. It is low in calories but has over 460 mg of sodium in one serving.

People normally consume sauerkraut on hot dog. Try to avoid it as much as possible on other foodstuffs also.

10. Whole milk

Milk is good for health and contains lots of calcium. But if you are consuming whole milk, you are actually having high-fat dairy products.

One cup of whole milk has about 5 grams of saturated fat.

Endnotes

Your health is in your hands!

So, after reading the above piece, would you avoid these foods for your healthier heart? Now you know the reasons and all other basic things about high blood pressure.

So, if you also have a few suggestions, let us know your feedback in the comments section below. Good luck.


Ralph Macey

Ralph Macey is associated with SavantCare, a renowned mental clinic dedicated to serving mental health patients in the USA. His prime job is to look after patients suffering from chronic mental disorders. He is focused on integrated interventions for improving mental health conditions and finding other alternative approaches to heal patients.
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