When it comes to high blood pressure and hypertension, there are many different causes including family history, being overweight, sleep apnea, poor diet, stress, drinking, smoking, and lack of exercise. Sure, those are some pretty common reasons for high blood pressure, but there are many more causes of hypertension that you may not be as familiar with, yet they are causing your blood pressure to soar.
If you haven’t found success lowering your blood pressure by controlling the obvious factors, then the culprit may be one of these surprising causes.
Surprising causes of high blood pressure
You live in a noisy area: Being surrounded by noise, especially at night, has been linked with hypertension. This is because loud noise is stressful, and when heard at night, it can disrupt your sleep. Poor sleep is a known risk factor for high blood pressure, which is why it’s important that you sleep in a peaceful environment.
Your paycheck is small: Working in a stressful job with low wages can send your blood pressure soaring. Being stressed out about whether you can pay your bills can lead to higher blood pressure. Another factor is a low-paying job without health insurance, as it can cause stress about whether or not you can afford medical care.
Salty food and sweets: Yes, eating sugary foods and salty foods alone is bad, but when you combine salty sugary foods—think French fries dipped in a milkshake, or a chocolate dipper pretzel—then you are creating an even deadlier combination. Sugar causes the body to retain additional salt along with making you crave salty foods, meaning you eat more.
You’re exposed to pollution: Unfortunately, air pollution is hard to avoid and is also a large contributing factor to high blood pressure. Although avoiding air pollution is impossible, you can take necessary precautions to reduce exposure to it such as staying indoors on high-pollution days and avoiding exercising or walking near busy roads.
You need coffee: When you’re tired, you reach for coffee to stay awake, which is fine. However, coffee is a stimulant and increases your blood pressure. High blood pressure caused by caffeine can lead to damage over time. Try not to drink more than one cup of coffee a day and avoid energy drinks with high caffeine content.
You live in a cold climate: Winter sucks, we know this, but it sucks even more because it can raise your blood pressure. Cold temperatures cause blood vessels to shrink and cause your heart to work harder, contributing to high blood pressure. Although moving to a warmer climate isn’t really an option, it’s important that you protect yourself against the cold by wearing layers. Avoid heading outdoors on exceptionally frigid days if you don’t have to.
You eat a lot of potatoes: Potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, as they can be made in several different ways. The problem is that consuming more than four servings of potatoes a week is linked with a greater risk of high blood pressure. Potatoes have a high glycemic index, which means they can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Blood sugar is linked to blood pressure. You don’t need to completely eliminate potatoes from your diet but you may want to consume them in moderation and opt for healthier versions of potatoes.