10 Surprising Things That Raise Your Blood Pressure

If you are the 1 in 8 Indians with hypertension or at risk, you’ll know the constant struggle to keep your blood pressure (BP) in check. And while you’ve probably zeroed in on all the main offenders, some sneaky triggers can still elevate your BP. 

Here are 10 very unexpected reasons that might be to blame for your high BP.  

#1 Hot Tubs, Saunas, And Cold Water! 

The typical sauna experience that involves going from the sauna or hot tub to cold showers or cold water could cause your BP to rise. Give the extremes a miss if you are minding your BP! 

#2 Cold And Flu Medicines 

Oddly enough, trying to treat one ailment could leave you grappling with another. Over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants that we all routinely use to treat the flu or a cold can raise BP. 

#3 Having Too Much Alcohol 

Binge drinking is a no-no if you’re trying to keep that BP in check. Downing more than two alcoholic drinks a day can cause your BP to go higher. 

#4 Your Sweet Tooth 

Having too much sugar doesn’t just cause weight gain (which can raise your risk of hypertension), it can have more immediate effects too! According to some reports, sugar can raise your BP, modest though this level may be. 

#5 Sitting 

Being physically inactive is a lifestyle risk factor for hypertension. If you spend a lot of your day sitting for long spells, it could lead to higher BP. 

#6 A Thyroid Problem And Other Health Conditions 

High BP can result from a thyroid hormone shortfall or excess in the blood. Excessive parathyroid hormone can also elevate calcium in the blood, which in turn raises BP. This type of BP problem is called secondary hypertension. Diabetes and kidney problems could also cause an increase in BP.  

#7 Sleep Apnea

If you have breathing trouble at night or are a heavy snorer, do get checked for sleep apnea. If you have the condition, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen. This can damage your blood vessel wall lining and impair BP regulation. The nervous system, which is overactive due to sleep apnea, can trigger the release of chemicals which also elevate BP. 

#8 Being Pregnant 

Having a baby on board can raise the level of fluids in your body and elevate your BP. Some women may develop high BP for the first time during pregnancy, while others could see their existing problem worsen. 

#9 Caffeine 

Those extra cups of coffee or tea you’ve downed can elevate your BP temporarily and result in a higher reading. Energy drinks and other products that contain caffeine like caffeine pills can also have the same effect. For people impacted by caffeine, the BP rise can be 5 to 10 points temporarily. This isn’t likely to cause a long-term increase, though that is still being investigated. 

#10 Medication And Herbal Supplements 

Birth control pills could be raising your BP. So could antidepressants and pain relievers as well as herbal supplements and medications like ginseng, St John’s Wort, licorice, and arnica. If you have a BP problem, check with your doctor before taking any supplements. 

References 

  1. Facts About High BP, American Heart Association  
  2. Is My BP Normal, Heart Foundation
  3. Sugary Foods, Blood Pressure UK 
  4. Behavior And Blood Pressure, CDC  
  5. Sitting, Mayo Clinic  
  6. Secondary Hypertension, Mayo Clinic
  7. Pregnancy, Mayo Clinic 
  8. High Blood Pressure, Mayo Clinic