5 Things That Up Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure

Getting to the heart of the matter


Chandré Davids |

Did you know that your heart pumps over 90 000 times a day? Yep, from those work presentation nerves to the heart-melting moments with your significant other, your heart is constantly working to keep you going. But are you doing enough to ensure that it’s healthy?

With every caused by heart disease, it’s vital that we take care of our heart health, and know just how we can avoid becoming a statistic. We asked the experts at Mediclinic just what nasty habits are upping your risks of becoming one of the 2 in 5 South African that suffers from high blood pressure.

What is high blood pressure?

We’ve all heard about , but what exactly is it? High blood pressure refers to when the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels is higher than normal. Having high blood pressure causes your heart and blood vessels to work harder and less efficiently, which in the long run, damages the tissues inside the arteries. This, in turn, causes LDL (bad cholesterol) to form plaque along tiny tears in the artery walls. The more damage that happens, the narrower the insides of the arteries become — which causes your blood pressure to rise even further.

High blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, loss of eyesight, heart failure, kidney disease, and sexual dysfunction.

Watch: 5 Heart Attack Symptoms In Women That Are Super Common (And Scary)

Not getting enough sleep

When one thinks of the benefits of a good nights rest, heart health is not the first thing that comes to mind. But in actual fact, sleep is one of the things that help to keep your heart healthy. By , your heart rate stays elevated instead of fluctuating normally. This increases your risk of becoming insulin resistant which in turn up your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If you aren’t getting the amount of sleep you need, you increase C-reactive protein which linked to stress and inflammation. Having less sleep also interferes with your appetite, which could lead to you eating more than usual.

Watch: 4 Simple And Easy Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy

Not moving enough

Being inactive can up your risk of getting high blood pressure, as those that aren’t moving the recommended 30 minutes a day up their risk by 50%! By regularly exercising, you’re helping to lower your blood pressure and increasing the HDL cholesterol that transports fat away from the heart. Cardiovascular exercises help to strengthen your heart, helping improve circulation by preventing blood clots, lowering your risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Eating foods high in bad fat

Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are created equal. Our bodies need (good fats) to function. But eating foods that are high bad fat and cholesterol can cause the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels. This causes your heart to work harder to pump blood through these buildups, making the blood vessels weaker.

Watch: You Definitely Need To Work Out At Least Two Times A Week If You Want The Heart Benefits

Stressing way too much

Stress is not always a bad thing, in fact, it could help you be more productive and efficient, but if you’re experiencing stress too often, you could be doing more damage.  While there’s no scientific link between stress and heart disease, how you manage your makes all the difference. Stress could trigger you to overeat, snack on unhealthy foods, skip exercise or drink and smoke excessively. So if you’re reacting negatively to stress, you risk increasing your chances of getting high blood pressure.

Being too salty

Having in your diet ups your risk of high blood pressure as it affects the way your body regulates water. The kidneys are responsible for regulating the amount of water in your body, and by having excess sodium in your blood it wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your to remove the water. This causes a build up of toxins, which over time could lead to high blood pressure.

Watch ON: Health Health Advice Heart Health