Some Other Surprising Reasons Your Blood Pressure Might Be High
High blood pressure can have many contributing factors but is classified as one of two types.
Primary hypertension, also called essential hypertension, is the most common type of high blood pressure and develops gradually over many years. However, for most adults, there is no identifiable cause.
Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure resulting from an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure typically occurs in patients under 30 years of age and is more resistant to blood pressure treatments. Secondary hypertension can be the result of various conditions and medications, including:
Renal artery stenosis
Medications, including birth control pills, cold remedies, , over-the-counter pain relievers, and some prescription drugs
Illegal drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines
In addition to medical conditions, your blood pressure can read high for many other reasons. If you monitor your blood pressure at home, you should avoid tobacco, caffeine, and food for at least 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure.
When you are ready to measure your blood pressure, find a comfortable spot where you can sit quietly for a few minutes. Sit with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported against a chair. Stay calm and relaxed and not think of stressful things. Avoid talking while measuring your blood pressure. Also, use the bathroom first because a full bladder can slightly increase your blood pressure.
Eating To Reduce High Blood Pressure
Small changes in your diet can make a big difference in your health.
Keeping your blood pressure and weight in check may reduce your risk for a host of potential health problems down the road from diabetes to heart disease. If your blood pressure is too high, changing your diet and losing a little weight just might be the ticket to lowering it.
Types Of Foods And Changes In Blood Pressure In Elderly
If you are wondering, how does blood pressure increase after eating, the fact is that it is not exactly cut and dry. For instance, aging can impact different systems in our body, such as the endocrine system. As a result, elderly people are left in a position where they can experience blood pressure changes after a meal. After eating a meal that is rich in lipids and carbohydrates, an elderly person might find that their mean arterial blood pressure actually decreases. This can be related to a decrease in arterial blood flow. Sometimes, when there are changes in splanchnic circulation, which involves the gastric system, an increase in cardiac output, stroke, and heart rate are observed. It is interesting that young people can consume lipids and carbohydrates without a decrease in blood pressure, yet some still experience increases in cardiac output, stroke, and heart rate.
In a lot of cases, hypertension is linked to an autonomic failure. An autonomic failure is a degenerative disorder of the autonomic nervous system. Autonomic issues have also been associated with hypotension though. For example, orthostatic hypotension is when a person experiences a fall in blood pressure with standing.
Don’t Miss: Does Collagen Raise Blood Pressure
Foods To Help With Postprandial Hypotension
High-carb foods tend to make postprandial hypotension symptoms worse. Some researchers recommend foods low on the glycemic index for better symptom control. Carrots, chickpeas, and other fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, may be good choices.
If symptoms are severe and cannot be controlled by other measures, subcutaneous injections of octreotide before a meal may help reduce the amount of blood flowing to the intestine. However, this treatment is quite expensive and can cause significant side effects.
Sodium And Blood Pressure
How much salt is too much salt? AHA recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. “This is one leveled teaspoon of salt, and the average American diet contains 2.5 times more salt,” Dr. Bakris says. “That’s a lot of salt being eaten.”
Most of this salt comes from processed and packaged foods, not the salt shaker.
“One Chinese-style meal has a tremendous amount of salt â 4,000 to 8,000 mg, depending on what you order â and if you are salt sensitive, your blood pressure may increase by as much as 40 points within a few hours,” he says.
All that sodium in your bloodstream attracts more water into your blood vessels, which raises your blood volume. That is what causes your blood pressure to go up. It’s similar to the way pressure increases in a garden hose if you turn up the spigot, the AHA notes.
“Your kidney has to get rid of that salt, and it takes your kidney 24 to 48 hours to recalibrate,” Dr. Bakris says. “You may find yourself getting up at night to pee often because your blood pressure is elevated from salt and your kidney is trying to lower it by peeing it out.”
Read more:Signs and Symptoms of Too Much Salt in the Diet
Also Check: Do Beets Help Lower Blood Pressure
/6several Things Influence Your Blood Pressure
For those suffering from hypertension, keeping a track of their blood pressure is crucial. This helps them monitor their heart health and thereby lower the risk of heart attack and stroke by taking medication whenever required. But to get an accurate number, it is crucial to take the reading at the right time and the right way. Several factors can cause blood pressure to rise and fall that includes your meal timing and the types of food you eat. Keep reading to know how eating and your food choices affect your blood pressure reading.
You’re Not Searching For The Hidden Sodium
Think you’ll automatically know when a food or meal is high in sodium? “People think that they can taste a high sodium food. They cannot. If something is baked or cooked in salt, the salt becomes mixed within the dish and it doesn’t go directly to your tastebuds, as it does in the case of chips or peanuts,” says Weisenberger. She notes that innocent-sounding foods like instant pudding, instant oatmeal and lemon-pepper seasoning are all hidden sources of sodium.
A good rule of thumb is to look at nutrition labels, specifically percent daily value for sodium. 5% daily value is considered “low” whereas 20% is considered “high”. Go for options that have a lower amount of sodium per serving.
Read More:Best and Worst Foods for Healthy Blood Pressure
Restaurant dishes are other big culprits. To choose lower sodium foods, Weisenberger suggests asking if the chef can cook or use a light hand with saltand if they’re willing to do it. “It’s not going to be easy. If you’re truly trying to follow a low-sodium diet, it pays to make friends with people who work at restaurants,” she says.
Don’t Miss: Does Ibuprofen Lower Blood Pressure
/6normal Blood Pressure Reading
The blood pressure monitoring machine displays two numbers, systolic and diastolic . The systolic number represents the pressure when the heart is contracting while the diastolic reading depicts the pressure of the blood when the heart muscles relax. The blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . As per the American Heart Association, there are five blood pressure categories.
Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
Elevated: Systolic from 120 to 129 mm Hg and diastolic less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
Hypertension Stage 1: Systolic ranging from 130 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic 80 to 89 mm Hg.
Hypertension Stage 2: Constantly at 140 mm Hg systolic or 90 mm Hg diastolic or higher.
Hypertensive Crisis: If the reading is higher than 180/120 mm Hg.
A hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. In this condition, the blood vessel becomes inflamed and may leak fluid or blood. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively, which leads to heart stroke or heart attack.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
If you have high blood pressure, you will have regular checkups with your provider.
Even if you have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is important to have your blood pressure checked during your regular check-up, especially if someone in your family has or had high blood pressure.
Contact your provider right away if home monitoring shows that your blood pressure is still high.
You May Like: Which Arm For Blood Pressure
Changes Of Blood Pressure After Eating
Blood pressure is the pressure that the arterial walls experience as blood pumps through them. The blood pressure varies throughout the day and is affected by other factors as well. Blood pressure after eating, for example, can change. Usually, our body has sophisticated mechanisms to bring the blood pressure back within normal ranges.
Why Your Heart Pounds Fast After Eating
With the winter holidays over, its time to get back to healthy eating and, for some residents, cold weather workouts. The holidays for many folks mean time spent with friends and family. It also means heavier meals and more opportunities to eat a few too many sweets. Whether you change your eating patterns at this time of year, or you stay consistent year-round, you may have noticed something unusual after you finished eating. In this post, we examine why some people experience a pounding heart after finishing a meal.
Also Check: Why Is My Blood Pressure Higher In The Evening
Ways To Avoid Overeating
Choosing healthy, well-portioned meals is one of the first steps to reducing the risk of heart disease and other health issues. Youll immediately experience benefits, like lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Here are some ways to avoid overeating:
- Increase your water intake. You should aim for six to eight glasses a day, possibly more or less, depending on your body size.
- Control your portion sizes. Ask yourself if you are really hungry before going for seconds.
You’re Not Dealing With Stress
Contrary to popular belief, stress is not a direct cause of high blood pressure, says Weisenberger. In reality, stress is more of a transient cause, e.g. you get a bad phone call and your blood pressure surges after you relax, it calms, she explains. That said, when you’re stressed out, you lose focus on those healthy habits you’re trying to establish. “In the same way with sleep, when you’re stressed, it’s harder to muster the motivation to go for a walk or jog or prep a meal from scratch,” she explains.
The ultimate goal would be to aim for a lifestyle that supports a healthy heart. “Engaging in regular healthy habits, such as good sleep, meditation, and time with friends, yourself and nature, will improve blood pressure indirectly,” says Weisenberger.
Recommended Reading: What’s My Blood Pressure Supposed To Be
Other Factors That Can Affect Your Blood Pressure
Now you know that blood pressure after eating may increase or decrease. It is also important to know other factors that can also affect blood pressure readings. These include:
1. Small Blood Pressure Cuff
You have to make sure that when your blood pressure is measured, the size of cuff fits your arm circumference. If you use a cuff that is too small, it can lead to an error blood pressure reading which will increase 10-40 mm Hg for the systolic result.
2. Cuff Placed over Clothing
It is very important that the cuff of the blood pressure machine is placed directly on the arm and not over clothes. Putting the cuff over clothes can cause the blood pressure readings to increase 10-50 mm Hg.
3. Inadequate Rest Before Measurement
To measure blood pressure accurately, the patient must sit in a comfortable chair for around five minutes before measurement. The atmosphere should be calm and peaceful, and no physical activity should be carried out prior to the measurements.
4. Improper Position
The feet, arms, and the back should be properly positioned while taking the blood pressure measurements. It is estimated that an unsupported back can increase the diastolic measurements by 6 mm Hg, while crossing of the legs will also result in a similar increase. What’s more, putting your arms below your heart level will cause a lower reading result.
5. Heightened Emotions
10. Urge to Urinate
When Should You Check Blood Pressure
As the different activities influence the blood pressure, making it fluctuate throughout the day, it is recommended to check it every day around the same time.
- Do not check blood pressure after eating, smoking, or drinking. Wait for at least 30 minutes.
- Wait for 30-45 minutes after exercising before taking the reading.
- Empty your bladder before measuring the levels.
- Sit and relax by sitting with a straight back, uncrossed legs, and both feet touching the floor.
- Rest the arm on a flat surface before taking the reading after 5 minutes in this position.
- Measure thrice at one-minute intervals to take an average value.
Recommended Reading: What Herbs Are Good For High Blood Pressure
/6what Happens When Blood Pressure Does Not Drop
In some people, the blood pressure does not drop after meals because the blood vessels outside of the digestive system do not constrict. This condition is referred to as postprandial hypotension or low blood pressure after eating. The symptoms of postprandial hypotension include lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, vision disruption and nausea. Staying in a fasted state for long periods can also cause a drop in blood pressure.
Can My Provider Rule Out A Heart Problem As The Cause Of Heart Palpitations After Eating
Your healthcare provider may suggest other tests to check your heart health. These tests include:
- Chest X-ray, which provides images of your heart and lungs.
- Echocardiogram to show your hearts function in motion.
- Electrocardiogram to monitor your heart rate and rhythm.
- Exercise stress test, which studies your hearts rhythm and performance.
- Holter monitoring to record your hearts activity over 24 to 48 hours.
- Event recorder to track your heart over weeks and enable you to record heart palpitations when you have them.
Read Also: How To Lower Blood Pressure Before Doctor Appointment
Sneaky Reasons Your Blood Pressure Is High According To A Dietitian
You might not be thinking about your blood pressure right nowbut you should. “Blood pressure is a silent killer. Most people have no signs or symptoms, and unless their blood pressure is measured, it’s easy to miss,” says Jill Weisenberger, a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in diabetes and heart health. Overtime, high blood pressure can damage your heart, brain, kidneys and eyes, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Diet choices and lifestyle habits play an important role in keeping blood pressure levels normal, which is considered less than 120 mm Hg for systolic and less than 80 mm Hg for diastolic .
Here are some of the top surprising factors that Weisenberger sees that may behind your rising numbers:
Can Eating Cause Your Blood Pressure To Go Lower Or Higher
If your doctor has suggested measuring your blood pressure at home, its likely theyve recommended you take your morning measurement before eating. Thats because the reading will often be lower than is typical following a meal.
When you eat, your body directs extra blood to the stomach and small intestine. At the same time, blood vessels that are distant from your digestive system narrow, and your heart beats harder and faster.
This action maintains the blood flow and blood pressure to your brain, extremities, and elsewhere in your body.
If your blood vessels and heart dont respond correctly to the extra blood directed to your digestive system, blood pressure everywhere but the digestive system will decrease. This is called postprandial hypotension.
Postprandial hypotension can result in:
If youre monitoring your blood pressure at home, there are many factors that might affect the reading, including:
To make sure youre getting accurate information, bring your home blood pressure monitor to your doctors office once a year. You can compare its readings with the readings from your doctors equipment.
Also Check: What Are The Signs Of Hypertension
Can Certain Type Of Food Impact Blood Pressure
Yes. People who fall in the category of prehypertension or hypertension may experience elevated blood pressure after having meals when they are rich in salt or saturated fat.
Salt: Ready-to-eat foods and processed food products contain higher levels of sodium or salt, which may cause a temporary spike in blood pressure.
Saturated Fat: Saturated fats in fried foods, fatty red meat, poultry skin, butter, cheese, tropical oils, lard, and dairy products, are rich in low-density lipoproteins . Consumption of such products may raise blood pressure levels in the long run as LDL tends to build up in the blood vessels restricting the flow of blood.
Other Tips For Accurate Readings
“The exercise of walking around can raise blood pressure, so you should always rest for about five minutes before taking your blood pressure,” says Dr. Kotwal. “Sit in a chair and keep both feet on the ground. Avoid crossing your legs.”
The AHA says don’t smoke, drink caffeine or exercise for 30 minutes before a blood pressure check. When taking your blood pressure, you should sit in a chair with your back supported. It doesn’t matter which arm you use to take your blood pressure. If your monitor doesn’t have a built-in recorder, make sure to write down your readings so you can share them with your doctor.
Other tips, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , for taking your blood pressure include:
- Don’t let your arm hang down, as this canincrease pressure. Support your arm on a table so that your arm is level withyour heart.
- Empty your bladder before you sit down fora blood pressure check.
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff isplaced over your bare arm, not over a shirtsleeve.
- Take two or more readings spaced about oneto two minutes apart to get the most accurate results.
Ask your doctor what the normal range should be for your blood pressure. Don’t worry if you have an occasional high reading, but let your doctor know if you’re getting readings that are consistently higher than normal â high blood pressure usually has no symptoms.
Also Check: How To Rapidly Lower Blood Pressure