What Factors can Affect Normal Blood Pressure?

B. Miller
B. Miller
When blood vessels narrow, it can raise blood pressure.
When blood vessels narrow, it can raise blood pressure.

There are a few different factors that can affect otherwise normal blood pressure, such as persistently high or low blood pressure, or hypertension and hypotension, respectively. When there is no underlying medical cause for changes, the most common factors that affect normal blood pressure are diet, exercise, and stress. These factors can be managed in most cases by making changes to lifestyle, which should be done to ensure that changes in blood pressure do not become ongoing problems. Stressful situations, for example, are a leading contributor to high blood pressure, and over time can even contribute to heart disease.

Exercising, eating, and relaxing can all cause a person's blood pressure to fluctuate.
Exercising, eating, and relaxing can all cause a person's blood pressure to fluctuate.

Factors that can cause normal blood pressure to dip, can include changes in diet, such as not eating enough calories throughout the day, as well as standing up too fast. This can be recognized by a feeling often referred to as a "head rush," or dizziness upon standing, which indicates a drop in blood pressure. If this happens frequently, it might be a good idea to visit the doctor to be sure nothing more serious is occurring. In general, however, changes to normal blood pressure occur most often when the pressure increases rather than when it decreases.

Stressful situations can lead to high blood pressure.
Stressful situations can lead to high blood pressure.

Diet is one of the leading causes of changes in normal blood pressure. Sodium in the diet can increase blood pressure, and it is often found in many different packaged foods where it might not be readily evident, such as canned vegetables. It is important to always read labels to determine the amount of sodium it contains. Conversely, a healthy diet made up primarily of fruits and fresh or frozen vegetables, as well as whole grain foods, and a regular exercise regimen that contains aerobic exercise, can both reduce high blood pressure, and help it stay within normal levels more of the time.

Stressful situations can affect normal blood pressure in a negative way by causing levels to rise. If this happens on a regular basis, it can actually cause damage to blood vessels, and may contribute to heart disease, so it is important to manage stressful situations, and practice stress reduction techniques. Other negative lifestyle behaviors, such as smoking or excessive alcohol use, can also cause the blood pressure to increase. Quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol use to no more than one or two drinks per day can help the blood pressure to start to return to normal levels.

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    • When blood vessels narrow, it can raise blood pressure.
      When blood vessels narrow, it can raise blood pressure.
    • Exercising, eating, and relaxing can all cause a person's blood pressure to fluctuate.
      Exercising, eating, and relaxing can all cause a person's blood pressure to fluctuate.
    • Stressful situations can lead to high blood pressure.
      Stressful situations can lead to high blood pressure.