5. Experiencing Loneliness
A study in Psychology and Aging found that loneliness increased the risk of hypertension in middle-aged and elderly adults independent of other cardiac risk factors. The effects of stress and cortisol levels on the heart can contribute to high blood pressure. Therefore, making time for friends and connecting with family is a heart-healthy pursuit. So, give your mom a call or ask an old friend to meet for coffee. Furthermore, snuggling with loved ones releases oxytocin. This hormone, often called the cuddle hormone, helps you feel content and may also protect your heart.
4. Experiencing Pain
Your body’s reaction to pain includes a spike in your blood pressure. The sympathetic nervous system responds to danger, stress, and pain with a flight or fight response. One byproduct of this response is an increase in blood pressure as your body attempts to combat the effects of pain. Therefore, proper pain management is crucial for protecting your heart as well as keeping you comfortable. Medications are not the only sources of pain relief. Depending on the cause of the pain, ice, heat, elevation, and rest can help provide relief.
3. Suffering from Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing is interrupted while sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when tissues in the throat or nasal passageways relax, drop down, and block the airway. Meanwhile, central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the lungs to continue breathing during sleep. In either case, the body may be deprived of necessary oxygen when breathing is interrupted. Then, low levels of oxygen in the blood may trigger the heart to work harder, resulting in increased blood pressure.
Simply engaging in conversation may raise your blood pressure levels. This can be easy to understand if you consider the way you feel when a discussion escalates into an argument. A study in Psychosomatic Medicine suggests that individuals with a higher baseline blood pressure experience greater jumps in blood pressure than those with lower baseline blood pressures. Interestingly, this study reports that some individuals experience an increase in blood pressure of 25 to 40% within 30 seconds of beginning a conversation.
1. Suffering from Certain Medical Conditions
You may realize that diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease are risk factors for hypertension. However, there are other medical conditions that can also contribute to high blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic reports that thyroid issues resulting in either high or low levels of thyroid hormone can cause hypertension. Furthermore, conditions that affect your sodium-potassium balance can affect your blood pressure. Chronic kidney disease, diarrhea, and excessive alcohol use can deplete your potassium levels and cause high blood pressure.