Being diagnosed or living with high blood pressure can land you in a serious predicament where you need to be mindful of your activities on a daily basis. High blood pressure is a constant struggle for most people but with a little effort, your situation can improve.

Aside from monitoring your meal intake, staying fit and trying to maintain an ideal body weight, here are some triggers you can watch out for to avoid those spikes in your blood pressure.

  • Smoking: It is alarming to find out about constantly how smoking is responsible for so many health issues both mental and physical. In fact, a lot of problems could be avoided by just giving it up altogether as smoking does nothing but harm your system in the long run.
    It is best avoided because toxic chemicals in cigarettes cause your blood pressure and heart rate to shoot up, forcing your heart to pump blood at an increased pace.
  • Sodium intake: You may be wondering how something as harmless as salt could possibly be a trigger for a spike in high blood pressure? Yet this one is anything but harmless keeping in mind that today any and every processed food item that you purchase has copious amounts of salt, used for preservation and increased flavor.
    Did you know that the recommended daily allowance for salt was set at five grams by the WHO? Consuming excessive amounts of salt raises the level of sodium in your bloodstream, forcing your kidneys to work harder. The extra fluid in your system and the strain put on your kidneys causes your blood pressure to increase.
  • Stress: This should be avoided as much as possible even in healthy people so as not to be at risk for diseases associated with it. When you’re in a stressful setting, your body releases certain hormones that cause your blood pressure to increase, making your heart beat faster and your blood vessels to constrict. It is not single episodes that are cause for worry but the effect of such episodes over time.
  • Sleep deprivation: Restful sleep benefits both your mind and body and makes you feel better. Sleep relaxes and rejuvenates and possibly even helps you regulate stress hormones. Getting fewer than five or six hours of sleep a night could worsen your condition.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medication: Taking over the counter medication is a risk in itself but doing so while suffering from high blood pressure could cause you even more trouble. It has become such a regular feature of our lives to self-medicate without a doctor’s consultation and prescription that we do it without a second thought.

When it comes to high blood pressure, a health issue not to be taken lightly, we must tread cautiously. Various OTC medicines can raise your blood pressure even seemingly harmless ones like vitamins and supplements. Some types of OTC medications to be avoided are decongestants, pain medicines, some antacids and even herbal remedies. If you are taking medication to manage high blood pressure, consult your doctor before you self-medicate.

With a condition like high blood pressure, constant awareness is key. Do keep tabs on your condition and take healthcare seriously. Eat right, maintain a good work-life balance, exercise regularly to keep weight gain in check and go for regular checkups to ensure that you’re doing everything right to function at your best.

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