Blood Pressure Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Michael Nadeau

NowRx Contributor 

blood pressure cuff

How to lower blood pressure?

As we get older, aiming for lower blood pressure should be one of your physical goals. High blood pressure can be a severe health risk and the higher your blood pressure gets, the greater the danger of a heart attack and other ailments. 

The good news? Lowering your blood pressure to a healthy level is achievable in several different ways. In this blog post, we’ll explore the basics of blood pressure and how to lower it. 

How to check blood pressure?

Before anything else, you should check your blood pressure to get an idea of where you stand. The best way to check your blood pressure is through regular visits with a health care provider. Blood pressure checks can be performed by a primary care physician or at a local health care provider. It’s a standard procedure for any health care visit.

To check blood pressure, a practitioner will either use the manual or automatic method. The manual method involves a “cuff” around your arm and a stethoscope to record blood flow. The automatic method gives a digital readout and does not require a stethoscope. 

Additionally, there are options for those looking to check their blood pressure at home. Automatic arm blood pressure monitors are available in stores and online.

How to lower blood pressure fast?

Those who want to lower their blood pressure fast should know there’s no magic trick that will make high blood pressure disappear overnight. However, there are some immediate steps you can take to lower your blood pressure.

The first? Get active, especially if you live a mainly sedentary lifestyle. Exercise regularly, and try to get in some movement every day. An excellent way to start? Get up early and go for a walk. Track your steps and try to raise your step count every day.

The second immediate thing you can do is to make some changes in your diet. Cut down on fatty foods, alcohol, foods rich in sodium and sugar, processed foods, and other unhealthy elements. Replace them with leaner meats, vegetables, and healthier alternatives. Following the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can be a great place to start here!

Another element that can help raise blood pressure? Smoking. One of the many other terrible things smoking can do to the body is raising blood pressure. Take steps to reduce a smoking habit or quit altogether to help lower blood pressure fast. 

Finally, try to reduce the stress in your life. Identify stressors (work, school, family, etc.) and think about how they’re affecting you. Stress can be a trigger for habits that result in high blood pressure. Cutting out even one of those stressors can help reduce your blood pressure. 

What raises blood pressure?

There are several things that can raise your blood pressure to a state known as “hypertension”. A sedentary, stationary daily routine and lack of exercise is one main cause. A poor diet is another primary cause of rising blood pressure. Specifically, diets full of processed or fast food or too rich with fatty or salty foods will quickly raise blood pressure.

In addition, all of these elements contribute to significant weight gain which unfortunately means the body has to work even harder for everyday activity. This in turn results in greater force on the arteries which results in blood pressure rising even further.

Hypertension can be deadly. It can result in ailments like heart attacks and strokes. As outlined above, reduce stress, eat healthier, and exercise more to avoid getting to that point. 

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Does alcohol raise blood pressure? 

In moderation, alcohol can suppress rising blood pressure. However, chronic heavy alcohol consumption can cause vasoconstriction or narrowing of the blood vessels. When blood vessels become narrower, your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body which causes blood pressure to rise.

In addition, regular alcohol drinking can contribute to weight gain which will also raise blood pressure.

The bottom line? Try to reduce your overall alcohol intake to help lower your blood pressure. 

Does caffeine raise blood pressure?

Caffeine intake can temporarily raise your blood pressure. After a cup of coffee or a soda, your blood pressure might go up a little. However, there’s no evidence to suggest that daily caffeine consumption boosts your blood pressure. Most bodies will adjust to the levels of caffeine in a daily cup of coffee, for example.

However, it is still best to limit sugary, caffeinated drinks. Those sodas can lead to weight gain, which is a contributing factor to high blood pressure. 

Can dehydration cause high blood pressure? 

Moderate dehydration can cause high blood pressure. Research shows that dehydration causes the body to secrete a specific hormone called vasopressin. Vasopressin can cause your blood vessels to narrow and blood pressure to spike.

However, interestingly enough, extreme dehydration can also cause low blood pressure through reduced blood volume, causing low blood pressure through the body.  

Does drinking water lower blood pressure?

Drinking water by itself won’t automatically lower high blood pressure. However, getting the right amount of water to keep the body properly hydrated throughout the day is key to a healthy cardiovascular system and an overall health body.

In other words, don’t count on water as a “cure” for high blood pressure. Instead, consider proper hydration as part of an overall better diet to lower blood pressure. 

Can anxiety cause high blood pressure?

Anxiety on its own isn’t the cause of high blood pressure. Anxious “spikes” of blood pressure can happen during stressful occasions. Those are normal reactions. However, if these jumps in blood pressure happen too often over a period of time, it may contribute to higher blood pressure. 

Additionally, anxiety certainly contributes to habits that can lead to high blood pressure. Stress can lead to overeating or resuming a poor diet, contributors to weight gain. It can prompt bad habits like smoking or drinking, gateways to high blood pressure. 

Try to minimize anxiety and stress in your life to avoid the habits that can lead to high blood pressure.

Questions About Blood Pressure

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