Does Higher Level Of Total Cholesterol Increase Blood Pressure?
Having one risk factor for heart disease means you need to be careful; having two risk factors means you need to make major changes in your life. Scientists have found that when people have two or more risk factors, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, the combination of these factors can increase the risk of heart disease. Even though cholesterol and blood pressure levels are only slightly elevated, when both are present in the body, they interact to damage blood vessels and the heart more quickly. If left untreated, this can eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes, as well as other problems such as kidney failure and vision loss. If you’ve ever been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you should monitor your blood pressure like a hawk. These two risk factors like to go together. But if you’re aware of what’s going on, you can win the battle for your health.
Understanding High Cholesterol
When you are diagnosed with high cholesterol, it means that you have higher than healthy levels of cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol is a fat that is used by the body to make certain hormones, produce vitamin D and build healthy cells. We produce it in our bodies and get it from the foods we eat. However, high levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. The problem is that when your cholesterol is high, the excess oily substance sticks to the walls of your arteries. Over time, this excess fat buildup can create a buildup of just dirt and grime in your garden hose. The oily material eventually hardens and forms inflexible plaques that damage the arteries. The arteries become harder and narrower, making it difficult for blood to flow through them as it once did. The ultimate danger is that the arteries become so narrow that a blood clot blocks blood flow, causing a serious cardiovascular event.
How does high cholesterol lead to high blood pressure?
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, chances are you are already taking medications to control it and making lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol naturally. In the meantime, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure. People who live with high cholesterol levels often end up with high blood pressure. Why is this? First, let’s look at hypertension. According to the American Heart Association, hypertension (or high blood pressure) occurs when “the force of blood being pushed against the walls of blood vessels is always too high. Think of your garden hose. If you’re watering small plants outdoors, you can use a low-pressure application to avoid damaging tender flowers. On the other hand, if you’re watering a row of shrubs, you can increase the water pressure to get the job done faster. Now imagine that your garden hose is a few years old and full of sand and dirt. It’s also a little stiff due to its age. In order to get the water to the desired pressure, you need to turn the faucet up to high pressure. The high pressure will remove all the dirt from the hose so you can use it to water your plants. If you have high blood pressure, your heart and arteries will experience a similar situation. Your heart has trouble pumping blood because your arteries are hardened or narrowed, perhaps due to a buildup of cholesterol. It’s like your heart has to turn on the tap to get the blood flowing and deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to all the organs in your body that need them.
High blood pressure and cholesterol can damage your arteries
Over time, this high blood pressure can damage arteries and other blood vessels. Blood vessels are not designed to withstand the constant blood flow caused by high blood pressure. As a result, they begin to suffer tears and other types of damage. These tears are a good refuge for excess cholesterol. In other words, the damage that high blood pressure does to your arteries and blood vessels can actually lead to plaque buildup and narrowing because of the high levels of cholesterol in your blood. In turn, your heart has to work harder to pump blood, which puts stress on your heart muscle. These two conditions act like a team of bad guys, worsening your heart, arteries and overall health. In fact, over time, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to problems with your eyes, kidneys, brain and other organs.
Studies show there is an unhealthy partnership
Researchers have long known that high cholesterol in the blood can lead to high blood pressure; in 2002, they divided participants into three groups (low, medium and high) based on their cholesterol levels. They then measured their blood pressure at different times of rest and exercise. The results, published in the Journal of Human Hypertension Letters, showed that people with high cholesterol levels had significantly higher blood pressure during exercise than those with low cholesterol levels. The researchers concluded that even a slight increase in cholesterol levels can affect blood pressure. They added that while cholesterol appears to interfere with the way blood vessels contract and release, it also affects the pressure required for blood to pass through them. A subsequent study published in the Journal of Hypertension Letters showed similar results. Researchers analyzed data from 4,680 participants aged 40-59 years from 17 different regions in Japan, China, the United Kingdom and the United States. They looked at blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diet for the first 24 hours. The results showed that cholesterol had a direct relationship with blood pressure in all participants. In fact, the presence or absence of high cholesterol in the blood appeared to predict the presence or absence of hypertension in the future. This was reported in the 2005 Hypertension Study. This study analyzed data from 3,110 men without a baseline diagnosis of hypertension or cardiovascular disease and followed them for about 14 years. At the end of the study, just over 1,000 of these men had developed hypertension.
The study results showed that
- The men with the highest total cholesterol had a blood pressure of 23.
had a 1% higher risk of developing hypertension than those with
Those with the lowest total cholesterol levels
- Men with the highest total cholesterol levels
Cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol had a 39% increased risk of developing diabetes.
People with high blood pressure
- Males had the highest rate of unhealthy
There was a 54% increased risk of developing HDL cholesterol
- Men with the highest levels of HDL
Cholesterol had a 32 percent lower risk of developing hypertension.
The same researchers conducted similar tests on women who were followed for about 11 years and found comparable results. Their study was published in the JAMATrusted source. Healthy women with higher cholesterol levels were more likely to develop high blood pressure along the way than women with lower cholesterol levels.
Take steps to control these two risk factors
The good news is that these two risk factors are very manageable. There are effective medications available to help control high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The important thing is to stay in touch with your doctor and monitor your data carefully.
- Lifestyle changes can also naturally strengthen the heart and blood vessels against adverse effects. Try these tips.
- Don’t smoke or quit smoking.
- Stay active – exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
Also, do resistance training twice a week.
- Don’t smoke or quit smoking.
- Stay active — exercise at least 30 minutes a
day, and work some resistance training in two times a week.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of whole
grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats like those found in
fish and nuts.
- Avoid excess cholesterol in food, excess fatty
foods, excess sodium, and excess sugar.