The number one cause of high blood pressure, according to doctors – Eat this, not that

For many of us blood pressure is just a series of numbers on a dial or screen that we come across during a physical examination. However, high blood pressure is a serious condition that can shorten your life. It occurs when blood vessels narrow or become less flexible, allowing blood to be forced through them with increasing force. That can cause damage and increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, and more. High blood pressure has no symptoms and becomes more common with age. Read on to learn more about the causes of high blood pressure – and to protect your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you already had COVID.

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“In general, the leading cause of high blood pressure in the United States and Western countries is poor lifestyle,” he says Dr. Neerav Sheth, a cardiologist with Cardiology Consultants of Philadelphia. “These include sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, excessive salt and alcohol consumption, poor sleep and high levels of stress.”

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“Age is a major risk factor” for high blood pressure, says Dr. Leann Poston, Medical Advisor at Impakt Fitness. The risk of high blood pressure begins to increase around the age of 45. According to the CDC, 64% of men over the age of 65 have high blood pressure. To reduce your risk of high blood pressure and its complications, have your blood pressure checked by your doctor annually and follow their advice to keep it within a healthy range.

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“Salt intake is a major cause of elevated blood pressure,” says Dr Alexander Morse, a cardiologist at Cardiology Consultants of Philadelphia. “It’s used to preserve food and tastes good, which means it’s in almost all foods. I frequently check diets with patients and have even found significant levels of salt in everything from packaged baby carrots and salad dressings to other ‘healthy’ options. People don’t think about how much salt we eat, and it’s a lot more than just adding salt at the table.”

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“Sitting or lying in one place for hours is another major cause of high blood pressure,” says Dr. Mark Davis, a doctor with Pacific Analytics. “An inactive daily routine keeps the heart’s arteries less flexible and stiffer, which puts pressure on them and leads to high blood pressure.”

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“Being overweight or obese are additional risk factors,” says Poston. “Obesity causes an increase in inflammation, which is thought to contribute to high blood pressure.” If you’re overweight, losing just about 8 pounds will reduce your risk of high blood pressure by 50 percent.

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“While a little alcohol can relax arteries, too much seems to have the opposite effect,” he says Johns Hopkins Medicine. To reduce your risk of high blood pressure and other serious health problems, drink in moderation—no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. And to protect your life and the lives of others, do not visit any of them 35 places where you are most likely to contract COVID.

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