We’re talking about pressure within the cardiovascular system, much like pressure in the plumbing or gas pipes of your home. The gas is pressurized, and the pipes themselves keep the gas contained. The heart is pumping blood to the veins and arteries, and so blood pressure itself is a good thing.
However, there can be too much of a good thing (when that blood pressure becomes too high), making it hard for the heart to move blood around your system. A stroke or heart attack can result, and so high blood pressure, or hypertension, must be addressed urgently.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Some of the causes for high blood pressure are:
Dehydration. A lack of water, or other fluids, thickens the blood which makes it more difficult to pump around the body. Dehydration also can cause many other symptoms such as kidney stones, headaches, constipation, etc.
Obesity. Being overweight can cause high blood pressure. Your body works harder at moving blood, which in turn can cause your heart to beat more quickly and your blood pressure to increase. Typically, obese individuals are less active and so that means the heart needs to work even harder.
Medications. There are a number of medications that can increase your blood pressure. Understanding how the medications can impact your overall health is a critical discussion with your Think Whole Person Healthcare provider and perhaps your clinical pharmacist. While we may not think of them as medications, alcohol raises blood pressure as does smoking and caffeine.
Poor Diet. A diet high in sugar can result in higher blood pressure. The glucose content can thicken the blood if you eat too much sugar. Inflammation can also be caused by excess sugar in the diet and that will in turn impact the blood vessels. A high sodium diet is a well-known factor in increasing blood pressure by pulling too much water into your blood vessels.
Stress. Stress can cause the veins and arteries to narrow (vasoconstriction). Also, the release of excitatory hormones (adrenaline, cortisol) will make the heart beat faster and the viscosity of the blood will thicken as protection (helping with clotting) should there be fight/flight trauma.
There are multiple other causes of high blood pressure, including lack of exercise/being physically fit, poor sleep habits (insomnia/apnea), diabetes, high cholesterol, and in some cases, genetics. Each of these in and of themselves can increase your blood pressure, so imagine the impact upon your body in combination.
Reducing High Blood Pressure
The bottom line is that you must take proactive measures to take care of your health, and many of these reasons for high blood pressure are preventable. If stress is an issue, find ways to relax whether it is taking a walk in nature or taking up yoga.
A poor diet, dehydration, and obesity can go hand in hand. Eating right, reducing sugar intake, exercising, and increasing water/fluid intake will help immensely in lowering your body weight and may impact your cholesterol and your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, for many, medications are an important tool in lowering high blood pressure, and these should be taken religiously as prescribed. It may take a little time to narrow in on just the right medication or combination of medications (two or more in combination can be particularly powerful). How well a particular drug works will be dependent on the person’s age, race, sex, overall health, and blood pressure levels.
Medication and modifying lifestyle choices working jointly are the most effective overall in reducing high blood pressure. If patients are on medications, they need to be taken as prescribed. As we’re working together to get the blood pressure down, patients need to be seen often to have their have their blood pressure checked and provide us with their readings in between visits. Once their blood pressure is regulated, they need to come in every three to six months to make sure we’re accomplishing our objective. I’ve had numerous success stories where patients have achieved remarkable success in stabilizing their blood pressure.
At Think Whole Person Healthcare, we understand the complexities of this condition and provide personalized care tailored to each patient’s unique needs. By prioritizing a collaborative approach, medication when necessary, and empowering self-care practices, we help our patients achieve stable blood pressure levels and improve their overall quality of life.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CONTROLLING YOUR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE BY SPEAKING WITH YOUR THINK PROVIDER
Think Whole Person Healthcare makes it easy to receive both preventative care and treatment for a wide range of health conditions. From hypertension to an ankle sprain, our healthcare providers and specialists are committed to your lifelong health and well-being. Our walk-in clinic treats anyone, even those who are not a think patient or do not have a primary care provider currently. To learn more about our comprehensive healthcare services, visit our Services page online and choose your own think medical professionals by visiting our Meet Your Doctor page.
We help you stay healthy. Give us a call at 402.506.9000.