What Causes High Blood Pressure?

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Explore how Kintsugi Health can help you manage high blood pressure by identifying and addressing the underlying causes, with a comprehensive approach to functional medicine and personalized health coaching. Find out how you can use a functional medicine approach to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and achieve optimal health.

What Causes High Blood Pressure? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the underlying causes of high blood pressure can vary from person to person. In functional medicine, high blood pressure is typically seen as a symptom of an underlying issue, rather than a condition in and of itself. Of course genes always play a role by increasing one’s likelihood of developing high blood pressure in the presence of certain lifestyle drivers. Possible causes of high blood pressure, as identified through a functional medicine approach, may include:

  • Chronic stress and high levels of cortisol, (the stress hormone)
  • Imbalances in gut bacteria, which can affect the production of hormones and inflammation
  • Insulin resistance, which can cause the body to retain sodium and water, leading to an increase in blood volume
  • Nutrient deficiencies, such as low levels of magnesium or potassium, which are important for maintaining healthy blood pressure
  • Inflammation, which can cause the blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow, leading to an increase in blood pressure
  • Poor diet, including a high intake of processed foods, salt, and alcohol, which can contribute to high blood pressure.

Here at Kintsugi Health, we take a comprehensive approach to identifying and addressing the underlying causes of high blood pressure in each individual patient. This might involve a combination of lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, and targeted nutritional support to address any imbalances or deficiencies.

How Does Chronic Stress Cause High Blood Pressure?

Chronic stress can cause high blood pressure because it activates the body’s fight or flight response, which is a survival mechanism that prepares the body to respond to perceived threats. This response involves the release of hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which increase heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels to provide the body with a burst of energy.

In the short term, the fight or flight response is helpful for dealing with acute stressors, such as running from a predator or responding to a sudden emergency. However, when this response is constantly activated due to chronic stress, it can have negative effects on the body. One of the main effects of chronic stress is an increase in blood pressure. 

How Does Insulin Resistance Contribute to High Blood Pressure?

Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells become less sensitive to the effects of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. As a result, the pancreas has to produce more insulin to keep blood sugar levels in check, which can lead to high levels of insulin in the blood. High levels of insulin can cause the body to retain sodium and water, leading to an increase in blood volume which causes the blood vessels to constrict and increases blood pressure. Additionally, insulin resistance can also lead to chronic inflammation, which can cause the blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow, leading to high blood pressure.

How Does Nutrient Deficiencies Contribute to High Blood Pressure?

Nutrient deficiencies can contribute to high blood pressure in a number of ways. For example, a deficiency in certain minerals like potassium and magnesium can lead to high blood pressure because these minerals play a key role in regulating blood pressure.  In addition, a deficiency in vitamins like vitamin D has been linked to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. This is because vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood vessels, which can help to regulate blood pressure. 

How Does Inflammation Contribute to High Blood Pressure?

Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection, and it involves the release of immune cells and chemicals that can cause swelling, pain, and redness. In some cases, chronic low-grade systemic inflammation, one of the hallmarks of most lifestyle-related chronic illnesses, can lead to high blood pressure. This is because the chemicals released during the inflammatory process can damage the lining of blood vessels, leading to constriction and an increase in blood pressure.  In addition, chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of plaque in the arteries, which can also contribute to high blood pressure.

How does a poor diet affect Blood Pressure?

A poor diet can contribute to high blood pressure in a number of ways. For example, a diet that is high in salt can lead to an increase in blood pressure because salt can cause the body to retain fluid, which can increase the volume of blood in the body and, in turn, raise blood pressure.  In addition, a diet that is high in saturated and trans fats is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation which is a driver for the development of plaque in the arteries, which can narrow the arteries and increase blood pressure. 

How Kintsugi Health can help

Kintsugi Health provides a comprehensive approach to managing high blood pressure by combining the experience and expertise of a functional medicine doctor and the support of your own functional medicine health coach. Your functional medicine doctor can work with you to identify and address the underlying causes of your high blood pressure, such as nutrient deficiencies or chronic inflammation.  The health coach can then provide support and guidance as you make the necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health and manage your blood pressure. This may include developing a healthy eating plan, starting an exercise program, and making other lifestyle changes that can help to reduce your blood pressure and improve your overall health. The health coach can also provide ongoing support and accountability to help you stay on track and achieve your health goals. We can provide a holistic approach to managing high blood pressure and help you achieve optimal health.

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