Learn about the connection between high blood pressure and high cholesterol, how to manage both, and how to promote your health.
High blood pressure is a significant factor in heart disease – but this risk increases if you also have high cholesterol. Having both present in your body can quickly damage your blood vessels, even if they’re only mildly elevated.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can be useful for making hormones, vitamin D, and healthy cells. However, too much of it can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by creating plaque that sticks to your arteries. As a result, arteries will become stiff and narrow, blocking efficient blood flow and eventually causing a severe cardiovascular event.
High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol
People with high cholesterol may also have high blood pressure (hypertension), or the consistent force of blood pushing hard against blood vessel walls. Imagine a garden hose that is years old and filled with grit and grime – higher pressure helps water get through. However, just like high-pressure water can damage your flowers, high blood pressure can damage your heart.
It does this by damaging the arteries and blood vessels, causing tears and other damages. Excess cholesterol rest in these tears, resulting in narrower arteries and more plaque buildup. Over time, these two conditions build on one another and leading to problems for your eyes, kidneys, brain, and heart.
According to a 2002 study in the Journal of Human Hypertension, high cholesterol may interfere with how blood vessels contract and release. Another study found similar results, showing a direct connection between cholesterol and blood pressure. Furthermore, having high cholesterol may be an indicator of future high blood pressure among both men and women.
Taking Control of Your Health
While one of these health concerns can seem overwhelming, having both can seem downright devastating.
But there is help, and there is hope in getting both under control.
Here are some steps to take toward getting both high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control:
» Manage Your Sodium Intake
According to research, we tend to get more then 75% of our sodium from processed or restaurant foods. Finding low-sodium foods in a restaurant and even in the grocery store can seem impossible. But take the time to check labels and avoid the foods high in sodium. Sodium raises blood pressure and is not your friend when it comes to keeping your arteries flexible. Stiff arteries can lead to more cholesterol build up. Be sure you’re checking on the sodium content you’re eating.
» Reduce Your Trans Fat Intake
Like sodium, it can be tough to avoid the trans fats that can raise cholesterol. Most of the snacks at the grocery store are loaded with trans-fat. While those foods may satisfy a short-term craving, they are doing potentially long-term damage if eaten too frequently. Be sure you’re looking to avoid trans fats just like the sodium to help both high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
» Regularly Exercise
We know you’ve heard it so many times before, but any list with information about taking care of high blood pressure and cholesterol will include getting regular exercise. Regular exercise helps strengthen the heart, can improve blood flow, and helps with your blood pressure and cholesterol. Make sure you’re getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-5 times a week. To make exercise a continuous part of your lifestyle, be sure to find something you enjoy doing. If you’re not a fan of running, find something else. You’ll be most successful if you are doing something you enjoy.
» Increase Nitric Oxide Levels
Nitric oxide is a key molecule related to heart health. Nitric oxide widens the blood vessels to make it easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Nitric oxide is produced from the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline. Taking these amino acids in a supplement like L-arginine Plus can help both high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
You can also avoid harmful activities like smoking, binge drinking, or eating foods high in, sugar. Instead, opt for a healthy diet that includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. In addition, working out on a regular basis (at least 30 minutes a day) can go a long way.
Taking heart supplement like L-arginine Plus on a daily basis to help promote your blood flow and overall heart health is a great addition to other efforts you’re making. Try L-arginine Plus along with exercising and eating healthy as a way to stay on top of managing both high blood pressure and high cholesterol.