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What Causes High Blood Pressure And How To Control It Without Medication

What Causes High Blood Pressure And How To Control It Without Medication

High blood pressure is a common term, yet the reality only dawns after the first diagnosis. Also called hypertension, high blood pressure is a dangerous condition. The heart is left to work twice as hard to pump blood leading to the arteries that harden and cause strokes, kidney diseases, and the development of a possible heart failure.

What causes high blood pressure?

The causes may be related to old age, genetics, or family history. These may not be possible to reverse totally.

The other causes are lifestyle related. Once you are diagnosed with the condition of high blood pressure, medication is recommended to assist in lowering the pressure. Apart from medication, there are many ways to help control high blood pressure, by simply following a few lifestyle changes. (*Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication)

So, what causes high blood pressure?

1. Smoking

Quit the smoking habit. The nicotine in cigarette smoke increases your blood pressure and heart rate as well.[1] It also narrows your arteries and narrows the walls.

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Apart from asking for help, you can try this app – Quit smoking – QuitNow! It shows you the money and time you’ve saved for the cigarettes you didn’t smoke. Great motivation! Right?

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    2. Stress

    Calm down!

    Chronic stress levels contribute to blood pressure complications. Analyze what factors cause stress and work towards healing these. A possible solution is through meditation, mind healing practices and activities like yoga. This yoga app provides tutorial that you can try immediately by just following what the expert does.

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      Family and friends that are supportive improve health conditions encouraging you to resolve any issue that may be causing the increase in blood pressure levels. If you require further emotional or morale-boosting support, take the time to join a support group that can offer practical methods to cope with the condition.

       3. Lacking Physical Exercise

      Take time to engage in consistent physical exercises. Physical exercise undoubtedly controls blood pressure. Get up and get moving!

      Too lazy to start? Try the 7-minute workout below

      4. Excess of salt

      Lose the Salt! Sodium intake is linked to increasing blood pressure levels.

      Reduce sodium intake by choosing products with lower amounts of sodium. Avoid processed foods, as there is added sodium in processed foods. Use spices and herbs rather than salt to flavor food.

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      5. Alcohol and Caffeine

      Watch toxic consumption!

      Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake. Alcohol raises blood pressure and reduces medication effectiveness. There is a possibility that caffeine increases blood pressure.

       6. Overweight

      Lose those pounds!

      By not taking note of obesity or weight gain blood pressure is affected. Overweight conditions even disrupt breathing patterns that cause sleep apnea. This directly results in a higher blood pressure level.

      The lifestyle change of losing weight effectively affects reducing blood pressure and being more conscious of the waistline, as extra weight waste places a higher risk leading to blood pressure complication.

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      7. Eat wisely

      Follow a routine of whole grain, vegetables, fruit, and dairy products that are low-fat. Journal your food intake, it keeps you accountable and aware of what you eat.

      Boost potassium levels as potassium lessens sodium effects, Fruits and vegetables are high in potassium and better than supplements Read the labels when you shop to maintain that eating plan with healthy criteria that stays dominant.

      There may be no magic wand to cast away the spell of blood pressure. With a smart diet and regular exercise, your blood pressure will maintain a healthy level.  Some tantalizing recipes that will assist are

      Lasagna Rolls with tofu – An Italian vegetarian delicacy

        Chicken,Broccoli and Tomato Salad – A substantial  salad as a main course

           Lemon Lentil Salad – Lentils with a mix of Salmon

            Reference

            [1] http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/smoking-kicking-habit#1

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            Nena Tenacity

            Nena is passionate about writing. She shares her everyday health and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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            Last Updated on November 9, 2020

            10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

            10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

            Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

            Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

            Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

            If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

            Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

            1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

            Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

            Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

            Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

            2. No Motivation

            Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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            This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

            If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

            3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

            Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

            A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

            A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

            The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

            4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

            One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

            We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

            Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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            You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

            5. Upward Comparisons

            Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

            The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

            These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

            Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

            6. No Alternative

            This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

            Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

            Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

            Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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            7. Stress

            As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

            When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

            We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

            If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

            8. Sense of Failure

            People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

            Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

            Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

            If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

            9. The Need to Be All-New

            People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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            These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

            10. Force of Habit

            Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

            Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

            These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

            Final Thoughts

            These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

            There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

            More on Breaking Bad Habits

            Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
            [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
            [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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