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What Can Raise Blood Pressure? Alcohol, Dehydration, Nicotine, & More

speciality medications

May 10, 2024
Blood pressure measuring apparatus

Your blood pressure can feel like just another set of numbers your doctor mentions during check-ups. It’s easy for all those numbers to blur together!

In reality, your blood pressure is an important vital sign that can tell you a lot about your cardiovascular health. And, if your blood pressure is over a certain threshold, that number is telling you that it’s time to invest in cardioprotective lifestyle changes or take effective blood pressure medication so you can improve your health!

But what actions are boosting your blood pressure? If your blood pressure is high, what can you do to bring it down? Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common actions that can influence your blood pressure and talk strategy so you can take charge of your health.

Blood Pressure 101: What Do Those Numbers Mean?

When you get a blood pressure result, you’ll see two numbers, one over the other, like a relatively nonsensical fraction. These two numbers represent your systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure as your heart beats and pushes blood through your arteries.

Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure as your heart is at rest, between heartbeats.

Normal blood pressure, as defined by the American Heart Association, is less than 120/80mmHg. If your numbers are elevated, depending on your symptoms and medical history, you may fall into one of several risk categories.

These, generally speaking, are as follows:

  • Elevated blood pressure is defined as 120-129/<80 mmHg
  • High blood pressure (hypertension stage 1) is defined as 130-139/80-89 mmHg
  • High blood pressure (hypertension stage 2) is defined as 140 or higher/90 mmHg
  • Hypertensive crisis is defined as a scenario in which the numbers exceed 180/120. This is, potentially, a life-threatening condition.

That can sound scary. The good news is that, if you have high blood pressure, there’s very likely something accessible and powerful you can do about it.

Some factors that contribute to high blood pressure are unavoidable. For example, sometimes hypertension is genetic, or elevated blood pressure is a side effect of a critical medication.

There are some lifestyle-related contributors that may be changeable, though.

Common Factors That Can Raise Blood Pressure

Got high blood pressure? It might be time to take a look at some popular activities and dietary choices that can keep your blood pressure elevated.

Three of these factors are alcohol, dehydration, and nicotine intake.

Alcohol's Influence on Blood Pressure

Alcohol can have short- and long-term effects on blood pressure.

Initially, in the short term, alcohol can cause a temporary increase in pressure.

Over the long term, drinking moderate to high amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can lead to sustained high blood pressure, or hypertension.

Reversing alcohol’s influence on blood pressure requires understanding the effects alcohol has on your unique body. Some people are able to consume alcohol within recommended limits and have healthy blood pressure. Other people may need to moderate alcohol further to keep their heart and cardiovascular system in optimal condition. One thing is clear, though—routinely drinking more than the recommended amount is not good for your heart.

It’s not the only thing that has an adverse effect on your system, though.

The Role of Dehydration in Blood Pressure

You’re probably familiar with some level of dehydration. Whenever you’re thirsty, for example, that’s your body telling you that you’re a little bit dehydrated—or that you need some water to feel better and be healthy.

If you are dehydrated on a regular basis, that can lead to some downstream effects that aren’t good for your body. When your body lacks fluids consistently, that triggers a few different unhelpful physiological responses, including:

  • Volume reductions. Dehydration might lead to decreases in your blood volume, which can make it easier for your heart to maintain adequate blood pressure.
  • Vasoconstrictions—or constricted blood vessels. If your body senses that you have a decrease in your blood volume, your body might constrict your blood vessels. This can temporarily make your blood pressure higher.
  • Renin-Angiotensin System activation. Your body has a system–the Renin-Angiotensin System–that regulates your body’s ability to retain healthy amounts of sodium and water. If this system is triggered, your body might further narrow your blood vessels. This can lead to higher blood pressure as well.

Regardless of the specific method, if you’re chronically dehydrated, that could result in sustained higher blood pressure. This places a lot of stress on your cardiovascular system. As a result, you could be at a higher risk of kidney damage, heart disease, and even stroke.

Depending on how long you’ve been dehydrated, the fix here could be simple. If you ensure adequate hydration, whatever that means for you, you’ll be better equipped to support heart health.

How much water you’ll need will depend on your activity levels and other factors, but one relatively simple rule of thumb is to consider your thirst levels. For the most part, if you’re thirsty, that’s a good sign you need to drink a significant amount of water!

Person extinguishing a cigarette

Nicotine and Blood Pressure

Nicotine is a stimulant that can be found in a variety of places—from cigarettes to tobacco products and vaping devices. It can feel relaxing, but it does have a significant effect on a person’s blood pressure.

Those effects can include:

  • Immediate stimulation. Once nicotine enters a person’s system, it can constrict blood vessels and increase heart rate. This combination can cause blood pressure to spike.

  • Long-term elevation. While a one-off nicotine user’s blood pressure should come back down after cessation of nicotine use, when you use nicotine regularly over time, you risk sustained high blood pressure.

    This can lead to the development of hypertension. Over time, you might even risk arterial wall damage, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and stroke.

Nicotine use can also lead to atherosclerosis, reduced oxygen to the heart, a higher workload for the heart, and even arrhythmias. If you already have high blood pressure, nicotine intake may not be strategic (and can be dangerous).

While quitting nicotine or the use of nicotine products can be difficult, doing so can lead to significant improvements in your health and quality of life. Talk to your doctor about the support systems available to you, which may include medication, nicotine replacement therapies, and counseling.

Did You Know? These Factors Can Raise Blood Pressure, Too

You might have been aware that nicotine and alcohol have an adverse effect on your blood pressure, but that isn’t the full picture. You can have high blood pressure even if you’re sober and highly hydrated at all times.

So, in that case—what gives?

As it turns out, there are other lifestyle factors that could be silently contributing to dangerously high blood pressure. Here, we’ll go over a few of them and explore how making simple changes could help you feel more in control of your health.

Dietary and Lifestyle Factors

These common dietary and lifestyle factors can make a big difference in your blood pressure:

  • Excess weight. If you weigh more than, perhaps, you’d like, you may be asking a lot of your heart. (More weight means that your heart needs to work harder to pump blood.) While it’s not always possible to lose weight, if you can, lowering your weight can help contribute to a healthier blood pressure.
  • Salt intake. Do you eat a lot of foods high in sodium? Salty or highly processed foods can spike your sodium intake. This may lead to arterial constriction and fluid retention, both of which can contribute to higher blood pressure.
  • Inactivity. People who live a more sedentary lifestyle may be at risk of higher blood pressure. Exercising on a regular basis encourages your blood to move around your body, and can also trigger the release of hormones that promote arterial relaxation.
  • A low-fiber diet. If your diet doesn’t have a good balance between fat and fiber, that can cause problems for your heart health and blood pressure. Eating high-fat foods can be fine, but pairing them with fruits and vegetables when possible can be cardioprotective.

Other Factors to Consider

Diet and exercise levels aren’t the only things that can boost your blood pressure.

These factors can, as well:

  • Stress: If you’re highly stressed all the time, that can cause high blood pressure on its own. Stress can also cause you to opt into unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as, for example, substance abuse or overeating.
  • Caffeine. While your cup of joe may make you feel alive in the morning, if you indulge too much, it can be unhealthy. Many are still debating the long-term health benefits (or adverse effects) of caffeine, but it’s clear that caffeine can at least cause short-term higher blood pressure—and may contribute to stress and anxiety longer-term in some individuals.
  • Genetics. For many people, their high blood pressure is genetic. Does high blood pressure or hypertension run in your family? Then you may be predisposed to high blood pressure, too. This doesn’t mean it’s inevitable, but this situation could mean that prioritizing a healthy, cardioprotective lifestyle is all the more important.
  • Some medications. There are some classes of medications that could boost your blood pressure, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and decongestants.

Preventing and Treating High Blood Pressure: FAQs

Q: What are the best dietary practices to prevent high blood pressure?
A: The best dietary practices for high blood pressure are summed up in the DASH diet. (DASH stands for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension.”) The DASH diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. It helps reduce sodium, increase other minerals, and prioritizes fiber.
Q: Why are regular health check-ups important for blood pressure management?
A: Regular health check-ups can help detect high blood pressure issues early. This means you can invest in management techniques before your high blood pressure becomes a problem. If you already have diagnosed high blood pressure, at your regular check-ups, your healthcare professionals can adjust your treatment plan and help you determine the best possible ways to care for your health.
Q: Does fasting lower blood pressure?
A: For some people, fasting extensively or regularly can lower blood pressure. Why? Fasting reduces sodium intake and can aid in weight loss. Talk to your doctor before beginning any extreme fasting initiatives.
Q: Is blood pressure higher in the morning?
A: Usually, your blood pressure is highest between 6am and noon in response to your body’s waking-up processes. In general, it’ll fall over the course of the afternoon.
Q: Can pain cause high blood pressure?
A: Insofar as pain triggers your stress response, yes, pain can cause temporary blood pressure spikes.
Q: Can lack of sleep cause high blood pressure?
A: Missing out on sleep on a regular basis stresses your body and affects your body’s hormonal balance, so, yes, it can lead to increases in your blood pressure.
Q: Can sleep apnea cause high blood pressure?
A: Sleep apnea can result in repeated interruptions in your breathing. This causes your body stress—even if you sleep through it. This stress can lead to higher blood pressure.
Q: Does blood pressure rise after eating?
A: Blood pressure can go up slightly after eating, especially if you’ve eaten a large meal. The spike should go away after a few hours.
Q: Does high cholesterol cause high blood pressure?
A: While high cholesterol doesn’t directly cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood pressure both contribute to poor cardiovascular outcomes.
Medications with blood pressure monitor

Need Help Managing Your Blood Pressure? We’re Here to Assist

If there’s one consistent thread through all of these factors of high blood pressure, it’s stress. One of the most stressful things we’ve heard from customers, over and over, is how difficult it can be to find and afford prescription blood pressure medications if they live in America.

That’s where we come in.

Through, you can buy high-quality name-brand and generic medications from a safe, reputable, and certified Canadian pharmacy and international meds website. After browsing our easy-to-navigate website and reading about the prescription blood pressure medications you need, you can simply add your medications to your cart, check out through our secure payment process, and have your medications shipped directly to your front door.

Chat with our team of customer service representatives and pharmacists to learn more about how we can help you, or read our customer service reviews. Then, when you’re ready, place an order online or over the phone.

The team at looks forward to helping you support your best possible health!

The information provided on the website is intended to facilitate awareness about healthcare products and medical conditions generally but it is not a substitute for professional medical attention or advice. You should always speak with a qualified healthcare practitioner before taking any prescription or non-prescription drug.
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