If you’re struggling with high blood pressure (BP) then it’s important to get to the root cause of it. You can manage your blood pressure by making changes in your lifestyle. In order to get to the root cause, it’s important to first understand how all your bodily systems work together to regulate your blood pressure.
What Does Blood Do?
Your blood is the superhighway of your body. It delivers vital nutrients and oxygen to your tissues. It also carries hormones where they bind with certain receptors, and it aids your immune system by carrying white blood cells.
Your blood also helps remove toxic metabolites from your body. It carries carbon dioxide and other waste materials to your kidneys, lungs, and digestive system. These organs then work to remove the waste from your body.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
If you want to lower your blood pressure you first have to manipulate these functions of the blood. There are many causes for blood pressure but this article will just discuss the most common causes.
For every pound of excess fat your body has, you need 1 mile of blood vessels to feed that fat. If you’re just 20 pounds overweight, that’s 20 miles of extra blood vessels your heart has to pump blood through. You can see how this easily leads to high BP.
2. Sedentary Lifestyle
Not only can a sedentary lifestyle lead to being overweight but it also interferes with your blood vessels ability to vasodilate. A sedentary lifestyle reduces the enzyme your body produces that helps regulate your blood pressure. So, you can be at a healthy weight and yet still have this problem if you aren’t active.
3. Not Enough Sunshine
Vitamin D is a vitamin responsible for regulating your blood pressure. People get vitamin D from sunshine. Scientists have researched the connection between vitamin D deficiency, heart diseases, and high BP.
4. Lack of Muscle Tone
Having a sedentary lifestyle can also cause a lack of muscle tone. You can also exercise but if you’re doing it wrong then you can lose your muscle mass. Poor protein stores can lead to high BP.
The chemicals found in tobacco constrict your blood vessels. Over time, your constricted blood vessels can’t get oxygen around your body which will cause your heart to work harder. This will cause your blood pressure to rise. Another big reason smoking leads to high BP is that it causes inflammation in your body.
Regular consumption of alcohol interferes with your body’s ability to absorb B vitamins. These are essential in regulating your blood pressure. Alcohol consumption can also lead to plaque build-up which will cause your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body. This hardening of your arteries causes high BP.
7. Excess Caffeine
Caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands. Adrenaline causes your blood pressure to increase. Over a period of time, caffeine also leads to magnesium and B vitamin deficiencies. These nutrients are needed to regulate your blood pressure.
Diet plays a large role in your blood pressure. The nutrients your body needs to regulate your blood pressure comes from the foods we eat. Too much processed salt leads to this condition because it causes water retention.
Another common diet cause is carb toxicity. This happens when your body produces too much insulin to process the glucose from carbs. It leads to too much cortisol production and a reduction in muscle mass.
9. Food Sensitivity and Allergies
Most people think food allergies come in the form of immediate hives, swollen lips, or an itchy throat. But, a real food allergy causes your body to release adrenaline and this response can be immediate or take up to 3 hours.
The release of adrenaline causes an increase in your blood pressure. Food allergies can cause this effect over time too as your body has an inflammatory response. Inflammation in your body can lead to it.
10. Chronic Stress
This isn’t the stress that can come and go in life. This refers to being exposed to extreme stress over a long period of time. So, if you go to a job that literally sucks the life out of you every day, you can classify this as chronic stress.
11. High Cortisol Levels
At the bottom of most of these causes is too much cortisol. Your body can produce too much cortisol in response to:
- Your body’s circadian rhythm is interrupted (such as what happens with shift work)
- Eating processed foods
- Carb toxicity
- Being overweight
- Not leading an active lifestyle
These are just a few of the most common causes of high cortisol levels.
There are certain types of prescribed medications that can elevate your blood pressure. There are also types of medications such as aspirin that damage your kidneys over time. After a while, this can elevate your blood pressure.
Another medication that can do this is antacids. These will eventually lead to it because they interfere with your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients. Over time, your blood vessels will spasm as a result of vitamin deficiencies and prolonged vessel spasms will elevate your blood pressure.
13. Adrenal Disease
Adrenal fatigue can elevate your blood pressure. And, what leads to adrenal disease? All of the things discussed above. You can see how intricate your body systems are and how everything can have a domino effect on other systems.
14. Kidney Disease
Your kidneys play a large role in regulating your blood pressure. Medications can lead to kidney disease which will cause high blood pressure. It can also damage the vessels in your kidneys which will then lead to blood pressure problems.
15. Thyroid Disease
Many people suffer from low thyroid function or hypothyroidism. Typically, this causes low blood pressure. However, many doctors over medicate for the problem which causes hyperthyroidism. This leads to high BP among other things. If you’re on medication for low thyroid function then make sure your doctor regularly checks your TSH levels.
High Blood Pressure Mechanisms
It causes many problems in your body. Many issues are set off by high BP and then it makes these issues worse. You can see how it can become a vicious cycle. Some of the bigger problems it causes include:
- Oxygen deprivation in the brain which causes memory problems
- Your fight or flight system always being on (chronic stress)
- Inflammation in your blood vessels
Many of the medicines typically prescribed by doctors interfere with other systems in your body which leads to it.
Nutritional Causes of High Blood Pressure
Vitamin C and arginine play a vital role in the enzyme production that regulates your blood pressure. The B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium are also responsible for helping to regulate your blood pressure. Many of the medications prescribed for your heart such as beta-blockers interfere with your body’s ability to absorb these nutrients.
Diet also plays a large role in your blood pressure. It’s important to stay away from processed foods, especially processed salts. Also, limit things such as alcohol and caffeine as they can raise your blood pressure.
There are many things that can cause high BP. It’s important that you look at these different factors and figure out how you can make lifestyle changes to lead a healthier life.