Having high blood pressure can raise your risk for experiencing devastating health problems such as a heart attack, a stroke, or kidney failure. Deemed the “silent killer” due to its lack of obvious symptoms, many people don’t even realize they have this common condition.
According to the American Heart Association, AHA, “The best ways to protect yourself are being aware of the risks and making changes that matter.” This includes educating yourself on the things that can spike your blood pressure levels. And, some of them are downright surprising.
Winter is notorious for ushering in the common cold into scores of American households. If you’re currently suffering from a runny nose and/or a scratchy throat, you might have over-the-counter cold medicines on your shopping list. However, the AHA warned that the decongestants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDS, contained in common cold and flu medications might raise your blood pressure.
Sondra DePalma, PA-C, DHSc, a co-author of the AHA’s 2017 blood pressure guideline, informed Healthline that popular decongestants, including pseudoephedrine, actually constrict people’s blood vessels. This diminishes the fluids that block your sinuses when you have a bothersome cold.
But, it can also be harmful for those who have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure. DePalma stated, “Restricting the blood vessels can increase blood pressure and a person’s heart rate.”
If you’re battling a cold, the co-author of the AHA’s 2017 blood pressure guideline recommended you take oral antihistamines or an intranasal steroid. DePalma also said, “instead of medications with ibuprofen, go with cold and flu medications that have acetaminophen, which won’t have that cardiovascular risk.”
Besides decongestants and cold and pain medicines containing NSAIDS, some antidepressants can raise your blood pressure. Antidepressants that target brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, tricyclic antidepressants, and fluoxetine, can all increase blood pressure. Prozac and Sarafem are two brands of fluoxetine.
Taking certain herbal supplements might also make your blood pressure soar. For instance, ginseng, ginkgo, ephedra, St. John’s wort, and guarana might increase your blood pressure or alter how your other medications work. Before beginning any new herbal supplement regimen, consult with your doctor.
Do you absolutely adore the sugary sweet taste of colas? Perhaps, you drink one or more of these popular beverages daily. Frighteningly, added sugars, like those found in soft drinks, may play a more crucial role in raising your blood pressure than salt. This might especially be the case when the added sugar is in a processed form such as high-fructose corn syrup.
WebMD reported that those who consumed more added sugars in their diet experience a significant increase in both their upper, systolic, and lower, diastolic, blood pressure numbers. Drinking a mere 24-ounce soda results in an average 15-point rise in systolic pressure. This action also causes a nine-point bounce in diastolic pressure.
Do you feel connected to those around you? Intriguingly, experiencing loneliness is linked to higher blood pressure levels. According to WebMD, being depressed or stressed doesn’t completely explain this strange phenomena.
And, it worsens over time. Research showed that over a period of four years, the upper blood pressure of the loneliest participants in a study went up more than 14 points. The researchers believed a continuing fear of disappointment and rejection and feeling keener about your security and safety might alter how your body works.
If you crave conversation, you might be astounded to discover that talking raises your blood pressure. And, the effect doesn’t go away immediately. It lasts for a few minutes. Allegedly, the emotional content and subject of what you’re talking about matters more than the simple act of moving your mouth.
As if you didn’t need more incentive to drink the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, dehydration can elevate your blood pressure. When your body’s cells don’t get ample water, your blood vessels tighten. Your kidneys make less urine in order to retain the fluid you do have. This causes tiny blood vessels in your brain and heart to constrict even more.
If you want to enjoy life well into your golden years, maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is vital. To help them accomplish this task, many people assume exercising regularly and eating healthy will be enough. While this is beneficial, it might not be adequate. Being mindful of the aforementioned surprising things that can raise your blood pressure is also important.