High blood pressure risk: Poor diet may NOT be only reason for symptoms

High blood pressure hit the headlines last week when it was revealed that pesto sauce contained large amounts of hidden salt.

Over-consumption of salt in the diet has been blamed by experts for the rise in the condition.

Rates in the UK have recently soared and elevated blood pressure now affects one in four people, with up to seven million undiagnosed.

However, scientists now suggest that the state of a person’s marriage could directly affect blood pressure reading.

A study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that a deteriorating relationship was associated with worsening blood pressure.

In the study, researchers monitored the cardiovascular risk factors for 620 married fathers.

They found that the risk factors changed little for men in relationships that were consistently good, or consistently bad.

However, for men whose relationships improved or deteriorated, the risk factors changed more.

Those in improving relationships had lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and better blood pressure compared to those in consistently good relationships.

The researchers wrote: “Assuming a causal association, then marriage counselling for couples with deteriorating relationships may have added benefits in terms of physical health over and above psychological well-being, though in some cases ending the relationship may be the best outcome."

Previously studies have only looked at marital quality and risk of cardiovascular disease at a single point in time.

But in the new research they examined potential changes over time.

Scientists note that while there is an association between marital status and health, it is not yet clear whether this link is due to the protective effects of marriage or something else.

Next scientists will look at whether the patterns they found could be reflected in actual rates of disease in the future.

High blood pressure can increase the likelihood someone suffers from strokes, dementia and kidney problems.

According to the NHS, all adults over 40 years are advised to have their blood pressure checked every five years.

Similarly, high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol can lead to heart disease, stroke and heart attack.

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