The pressure rises even more when we come across high blood pressure readings on the scale. Simply getting your upper arms cuffed with a hand cuff that gives your readings accurately isn’t the need of the hour. The focus should be to understand what are the commonest of factors that can affect these readings. The placement of the hand, your posture and even your speech can elevate BP readings drastically. Bear this in mind-blood pressure isn’t only due to genes but it is also your lifestyle, diet, workout routine and sleep habits that have a strong impact.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry is aware of the fact that blood pressure rates are strongly affected by a diet that’s high in salt, fat and sugar and a sedentary lifestyle. But what we don’t know are four major factors that have a stronger impact on BP measurements:
Over-the-counter Medications: Any OTC meds used to treat pains and inflammations have the ability to increase BP measurements. Decongestant medications, those used to treat mental health, oral birth control pills, cancer meds and steroids also fall into this category. But stopping to take these meds are ridiculous and one must always consult the physician on the next course of action.
Caffeine Affection: The day might never start without caffeine and never stop without a pint of alcohol. Gosh, but both of these are strong contributors of blood pressure. Restricting caffeine intake to 2-3 cups a day helps in controlling spike of BP measurements. Even green tea and other caffeinated drinks that help in keeping the person alert and attentive have this bad reputation for increasing BP levels too simultaneously. So, rather than relying on these drinks why not go for a quick walk outside, do a few pushups, listen to some refreshing music or talk to your chatterbox friend to get rid of the sleepiness and become active?
Supplements: Supplements are never regulated by the FDA and there is already a plethora of accusations surrounding them. Despite being labelled as natural or herbal there are many of them that use an ingredient called licorice that can elevate BP levels. Soy has become famous universally but sadly even these products along with certain cheese varieties and cured meats contain high levels of tyramine. Tyramine has the potential to interact with antidepressants and cause hypertension.
Haphazard Readings: The sight of a policeman can evoke fear in people but what’s the need to panic on seeing a doctor? Known as white coat hypertension there are some individuals whose BP levels rise on seeing his/her physician. In order to capture proper measurements in these people it is recommended that they wait for 10-15 minutes before taking the reading. Also, these people can take a measurement at home and then compare it with the one taken at the doctor’s place to see the difference in results. Readings taken at home are said to be close to precise as the patient is in his/her natural environment and at peace. Never drink caffeine or smoke at least 30 minutes before readings are taken, empty your bladder, don’t keep talking while you are in the middle of taking a reading, maintain a proper posture by resting your hands on a table instead of allowing it to hang in the air and above all, don’t sit cross-legged.
High BP levels are always called a silent killer as it causes serious damages without giving a hint of it. Elevated blood pressure levels are a great risk factor for stroke or heart attack. A sedentary lifestyle, over-consumption of salt, abstaining to exercise and weight factors play a pivotal role in affecting your blood pressure measurements. Control them with the help of a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com who can counsel you on what to eat and what not to eat.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.