High blood pressure has become an epidemic in the USA. Uncontrolled, it may lead to heart disease and stroke, two of the top causes of death in the country. According to the Center of Disease Control, approximately 1 in every 3 American adults struggles with hypertension. Unfortunately, only about 54% of them have their condition under control. Even though it’s a quite common health issue, have you ever thought about its causes? If so, what came to mind? Stress, poor diet, too much salt or alcohol, maybe your family history? If any of these crossed your mind, you definitely passed the test. They are the primary factors; however, there are certain less popular factors that also contribute to high blood pressure. In today’s article, we reveal 4 surprising culprits of hypertension which you may not have heard about before.
What does your blood pressure mean?
Before we move on to the causes of hypertension, let’s focus on a different aspect. Many patients who visit our Urgent Care Center in Wellington often ask about their exact blood pressure and what it means. Below you will find a chart outlining the thresholds for normal, at-risk and high blood pressure, according to the CDC:
|Normal||Systolic: less than 120 mmHg
Diastolic: less than 80 mmHg
|At-risk (prehypertension)||Systolic: between 120 – 139 mmHg
Diastolic: between 80 – 89 mmHg
|High||Systolic: 140 mmHg or higher
Diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher
Now, let’s focus on the causes. The first surprising cause that you might not have been aware of are BPAs. One study published in a journal on hypertension was aimed at determining whether exposure to BPAs, industrial chemicals used in the lining of certain plastic bottles and cans, contributed to increased blood pressure. They tested 60 people under 60 years old. The outcomes clearly showed that “the urinary BPA concentration increased after consuming canned beverages by >1600% compared with that after consuming glass bottled beverages. Systolic blood pressure adjusted for daily variance increased by ≈4.5 mm Hg after consuming 2 canned beverages compared with that after consuming 2 glass bottled beverages, and the difference was statistically significant.” That study proves that BPAs found in cans and plastic bottles may seep into the foods and drinks that we consume, leading to a small but significant rise in blood pressure. At our Urgent Care Center in Wellington, we always recommend using BPA-free products and reaching for food containers made from glass or stainless steel.
2. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed and people who suffer from it aren’t even conscious that they have it. This serious sleep disorder may lead to headaches, lack of rest, diabetes, heart failure, stroke and high blood pressure. You may wonder what interrupted sleep has to do with hypertension, but the answer is simple: when you stop breathing, the level of oxygen in your body drops; as a result, the brain sends signals through the nervous system to increase the oxygen flow to the heart. In this way, the blood vessels constrict. Besides that, constant drops in blood oxygen level may lead to the release of stress hormones, which additionally raise the heart rate and put you at risk for high blood pressure. If you show symptoms of sleep apnea, such as snoring, restless sleep, morning headaches, lack of energy throughout the day, or insomnia, you should immediately visit our Urgent Care Center in Wellington to get the help that you need. Untreated sleep apnea may eventually cause a heart attack or a heart failure.
3. Thyroid problems
You might be wondering what the connection is between thyroid and hypertension, but we will shed some light on this question for you. When the thyroid gland either doesn’t produce sufficient thyroid hormone or produces too much of it, it may lead to various cardiovascular disorders, including hypertension. It’s important to bring the levels of thyroid hormone back to normal as soon as possible in order for your blood pressure to be normal again, as well. If you suspect that your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, look for the following symptoms:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Cracking nails
- Memory loss
- Lack of energy
- High cholesterol
- Chronic infections
- Loss of hair
- Cold intolerance
These are only some of the symptoms that may indicate that your thyroid doesn’t work right. If you have high blood pressure, consult the medical staff at our urgent care center in Wellington to find out if your thyroid is the cause of it. We will use a the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test, performed on a blood sample, to diagnose you.
Contrary to what you would expect, prescription and over-the-counter medications do not always improve your health. Some drugs, while staving off headaches or inflammation, may be responsible for increasing your blood pressure. Have you ever taken Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, or Motrin IB? Or maybe you tried an herbal supplement like ephedra or ginseng? They all can raise your blood pressure. Remember to always consult your physician or pharmacist about your blood pressure and the medications you’re taking. At our urgent care center in Wellington, we always make sure not to prescribe our patients medication that might harm them. We are also happy to take a look at the list of current medications you’re taking and help you determine which ones may be responsible for your increased blood pressure.
Visit our urgent care center in Wellington where we will help you effectively control your blood pressure. Remember, you don’t have to rush through afternoon traffic to visit us before closing time. After all, why would you want to further increase your blood pressure? You can seek help at our practice seven days per week, after business hours.