8 Different Things That Raise Your Blood Pressure

Heart disease kills roughly 650,000 Americans every year. So, if you want to lead a happy and healthy life, you have to keep an eye on your blood pressure.

By doing things that cause your blood pressure to increase, you are putting your long-term health in danger. As such, it's important to be cognizant of the things that cause high blood pressure and do everything you can to avoid them. 

Curious as to the different things that raise your blood pressure? Then read on. We're going to cover 10 of them below! 

1. A Lack of Exercise

One of the most common causes of high blood pressure is a lack of exercise. Failing to get adequate exercise prevents the heart from strengthening.

When the heart isn't strong enough, it has to work harder than it otherwise would in order to pump the same amount of blood. As a result, it ends up injecting blood into the arteries at a higher pressure than it would normally be injected. 

It's important to get cardiovascular exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week. If you can incorporate other elements of exercise (like weightlifting, for instance), you'll be even better off. 

2. Alcohol

When it comes to social situations, alcohol can be quite beneficial. That said, it doesn't come without its bad effects. In addition to weakening the neurological system and kidneys over time, it also has a negative effect on blood pressure, both in the short-term and the long-run. 

If you drink more than 3 drinks in a single sitting, your blood pressure will rise temporarily (note, the more drinks you have, the higher your blood pressure will be). If you binge drink on a regular basis, you could end up suffering chronic high blood pressure.  

So, in essence, if you're going to drink, you should drink in moderation. Try to keep it to 3 drinks or under and to no more than twice a week. 

3. Smoking

Are you a smoker? If so, you should know that it's not only affecting your throat and lungs but your blood pressure as well. 

See, over time, the nicotine within cigarettes clings to arteries, causing them to narrow and harden. As a result, the arteries provide less room through which blood can flow. As such, it passes through with much greater pressure than it would normally. 

4. Salt 

You've probably heard this one before: salt! Now, not everyone's blood pressure is affected by salt. Unfortunately, however, some peoples' blood pressure is highly influenced by the seasoning. 

It's sodium, in particular, that leads to high blood pressure. The more sodium that's consumed, the more difficult it is for the kidneys to regulate fluid. This causes the heart to work harder in order to pump blood, thus leading to increased blood pressure. 

Now, this doesn't mean you should completely throw salt to the wayside. It just means that you should use it sparingly. 

5. Saturated Fats

There are three general types of fats: saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and trans fats. Unsaturated fats -- like monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats -- are good for you. But trans fats and saturated fats are not, with the latter having the ability to increase your blood pressure substantially. 

Curious as to the types of foods that are high in saturated fat? These run the gamut from pork to beef to cheese to milk and the like. 

You can certainly eat these foods on occasion, but you should try to limit them as much as possible. Your long-term cardiovascular health will thank you. 

6. Pickled Vegetables

Do you enjoy pickled cucumbers? Pickled peppers? Pickled asparagus? If so, you should know that you're taking in a great deal of salt. 

So, as you might expect, those pickled vegetables are quite bad for your blood pressure, causing it to raise directly after they've been eaten and, in some cases, leading to chronic high blood pressure down the road. 

Again, you don't have to avoid these foods entirely. However, they should be seen as an every-once-in-a-while snack as opposed to an everyday habit. 

7. Soda/Pop 

Pop and soda are delicious; there's really no doubt about it. But, like many delicious foods and beverages, it comes with a number of negative health effects. One of these effects is high blood pressure. 

Sure, you can have a soda on occasion without much concern. But if you're a chronic soda drinker, your blood pressure is almost sure to rise over time, as is your cholesterol. 

And don't think that you can avoid this problem by drinking diet soda. In fact, diet soda has been shown to increase blood pressure even more than non-diet soda, likely because the drinker feels safer drinking it. 

8. Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that causes an affected individual to stop breathing during sleep. It has a number of negative health effects, not the least of which is increased blood pressure. 

See, sleep apnea causes blood oxygen levels to drop drastically. As a result, the heart must work harder in order to keep up. This leads to increased strain on the rest of the cardiovascular system, leading to, in some cases, a remarkably high blood pressure. 

Sleep apnea isn't something to play fast and loose with. If you're suspected of having it, you should see a doctor immediately. He or she will recommend you to a sleep specialist who will then provide you with the proper treatment (and also show you how to manage high blood pressure). 

Avoid Things That Raise Your Blood Pressure

And there it is, a list of things that raise your blood pressure. Take heed of these things and you should be able to maintain good heart health over time. 

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