What Affects Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the force that the blood applies on the walls of the artery. Your heartbeat refers to how many times your heartbeats in a minute. Information about your blood pressure and heartbeat enables your healthcare provider to make important decisions about your cardiovascular system and overall health. Your heart rate is normal if your resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute, whereas the systolic blood pressure should be less than 120mmHg and diastolic pressure should be less than 80mmHg. Your blood pressure can change due to many factors. Let's discuss more about it.

What Affects Blood Pressure Temporarily?

Many people are not aware of the fact that blood pressure changes minute by minute. The change may be due to any activity, your mood, or your body position. Other factors can also change your blood pressure temporarily and make it fluctuate between 5 and 40mmHg. Read for more factors.

1. The Size of the Blood Pressure Cuff

If the size is too small and you feel the cuff is rather tight on your upper arm, you may not get correct measurement. It is therefore important to ensure it fits you well or using a small blood pressure cuff may increase your systolic blood pressure by 10 to 40 mmHg.

2. Cuff Used over Clothing

It is not a good idea to wear your blood pressure cuff over clothing. If you do it, you may not get correct measurement. In fact, there may be a change in your systolic blood pressure measurement by 10 to 50mmHg.

3. Not Taking Time to Relax

You should relax yourself and take at least 5 minutes after sitting in a comfortable chair to check your blood pressure. Any activity such as eating or exercise can change your systolic blood pressure up to 10-20mmHg.

4. Back, Arm, or Feet Unsupported

You will get incorrect reading if you are not sitting in a comfortable chair with your arm and back being supported. There may be an increase in your diastolic blood pressure by 6mmHg if your back is not supported. Keeping your legs crossed may also raise your systolic blood pressure. Keeping your upper arm below your heart level will also affect the reading–keeping it below your heart level will give higher measurements, whereas keeping it above your heart level will do the opposite.

5. Emotional State

Never try to measure your blood pressure when you are anxious or under stress because it can automatically increase your blood pressure. Calm down and be relaxed when having your blood pressure measured.

6. Talking while Testing

What affects blood pressure temporarily? Just like physical activities, talking also plays a role here. There may be an increase of 10-15mmHg if you are talking when your blood pressure is being measured. Be comfortable and do not talk.

7. Tobacco Use

Use of any tobacco products, including cigars, cigarettes, or even smokeless tobacco can increase your blood pressure because they all contain nicotine. Do not smoke for at least half an hour before having your blood pressure checked.

8. Caffeine and Alcohol

Drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages before taking your blood pressure measurement will lead to incorrect results. Do not drink any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks for at least half an hour before having your blood pressure measurement taken.

9. Temperature

Your blood pressure goes up when you are cold. It means you may get a higher reading if the temperature at the doctor's office is low.

10. Full Bladder

Your blood pressure comes down when your bladder is empty and increases when your bladder is full. There may be an increase of 10-15mmHg in your blood pressure reading when you have a measurement with a full bladder.

What Affects Blood Pressure in the Long Run?

Here are some of the factors that have a role to play in your blood pressure in the long run:

1. Family History

Just like hair, height, and eye color, blood pressure can also run in families. It means that if your parents or someone in your blood relatives have hypertension, you are more likely to have it too. Your children will also have a higher risk of developing hypertension in this case. It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly if you are at a higher risk of developing hypertension. While you cannot do anything about heredity, you can make lifestyle changes to lower your risk.

2. Age and Gender

Your risk of developing hypertension increases with age. This happens because blood vessels lose flexibility with time. Moreover, men under 45 years of age are at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure as compared to women. Both men and women are at the same risk of developing hypertension from ages 45 to 64. After that, women are more likely to develop hypertension as compared to men.

3. Lack of Physical Activity

How active you are will also have an impact on your blood pressure. If you have an inactive lifestyle, you are more likely to develop hypertension, blood vessel disease, heart disease, and stroke. When you are not active, you also increase your risk of becoming overweight or obese. You are obese when your body mass index is over 30, and excessive weight puts more pressure on your heart, makes it work hard, and increases your blood pressure to a dangerous level. Be sure to include moderate physical activity in your routine to stay healthy.

4. Dietary Choices

You will develop high blood pressure if your diet includes lots of fats, calories, and sugars. This diet also contributes to obesity which is linked to so many issues. A diet rich in sodium will also increase your blood pressure because it makes your body retain water that puts strain on the heart. Lowering your intake of salt and including potassium in your diet will help. Similarly, vitamin D is essential for the production of an enzyme that regulates blood pressure. So, have a balanced diet to keep blood pressure in control.

5. Sleep Apnea

What affects blood pressure in the long run? A condition called sleep apnea can’t be ignored. In this condition, tissue in the throat collapse and make it difficult to breathe. You may wake up and have to cough to start breathing again, but pauses in breathing can make you feel tired during the day. The condition also increases your risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.

6. Mediations

Your hypertension may become worse by taking ibuprofen, such as Motrin, Advil, etc. These medications can also be damaging for the kidneys and increase your risk of heart failure and stroke. Naproxen, piroxicam, diclofenac, Lodine, Mobic, and indomethacin may have similar effects on your cardiovascular system. Cold and cough medicines may constrict your arteries and increase your heart rate and blood pressure. 

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