What is high blood pressure? What causes high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries (blood vessels), which carry the blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body and it contributes to hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis and the development of heart failure.
What Is “Normal” Blood Pressure?
There are several categories of blood pressure, including:
Normal: Less than 120/80
Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159/90-99
Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known. Several factors and conditions may play a role in its development, including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of physical activity
- Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
- Older age
- Family history of high blood pressure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Adrenal and thyroid disorders
Myth: “Salt causes high blood pressure and should be avoided.”
The origin: In the 1940s, a Duke University researcher named Walter Kempner, M.D., became famous for using salt restriction to treat people with high blood pressure. Later, studies confirmed that reducing salt could help reduce hypertension.
What science really shows: Large-scale scientific reviews have determined there’s no reason for people with normal blood pressure to restrict their sodium intake. Now, if you already have high blood pressure, you may be “salt sensitive.” As a result, reducing the amount of salt you eat could be helpful.
However, it’s been known for the past 20 years that people with high blood pressure who don’t want to lower their salt intake can simply consume more potassium-containing foods. Why? Because it’s really the balance of the two minerals that matters. In fact, Dutch researchers determined that a low potassium intake has the same impact on your blood pressure as high salt consumption does. And it turns out, the average person consumes 3,100 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day—1,600 mg less than recommended.
The bottom line: Strive for a potassium-rich diet, which you can achieve by eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. For instance, spinach, broccoli, bananas, white potatoes, and most types of beans each contain more than 400 mg potassium per serving.
Sugar, the main cause for concern when it comes to High Blood Pressure
Excess sugar is known to contribute to obesity, diabetes, and other conditions linked to heart disease, and now new research links it to unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
People in the study who ate the most added sugar had the lowest HDL, or good cholesterol, and the highest blood triglyceride levels. People who ate the least sugar had the highest HDL and the lowest triglyceride levels.
Eating large amounts of added sugar more than tripled the risk of having low HDL, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
The study appears in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
We know that high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels are the main cause of plaque accumulation on the inside walls of the arteries which constraints normal blood flow and therefore causes high blood pressure.
Correct your diet and reverse High Blood Pressure