What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Hypertension?
Hypertension or High blood pressure is one of the common conditions seen in modern times. It causes long term force of the blood to go against the walls of arteries which are high enough to cause other problems like heart disease. Both the blood pumping in the heart as well as the resistance to blood flowing through the arteries determines the blood pressure of the body. The more blood pumps to the heart the more narrow arteries become and resulting in high blood pressure. The reading of blood pressure is given in millimeters of mercury and this includes two number systolic as well as diastolic pressure. Patients can suffer from high blood pressure for years without noticing any clinical features. Uncontrolled levels of blood pressure for years will increase the risk of serious health problems like stroke. Through this article we are going to discuss causes and risk factors of hypertension.
Many people suffering from high blood pressure do not suffer from any kind of signs and symptoms. It could be dangerous if it reaches the extreme high levels but some few clinical features seen are difficulty in breathing, headaches or bleeding from nose. These signs and symptoms are not seen until it reaches the life-threatening stage. It is important to take blood pressure readings at least a year after the age of 18 year.
Some of the common causes for high blood pressure are
1. Primary Hypertension
In this type the cause for high blood pressure is not not known but this type of blood pressure is also called Essential hypertension. This type of blood pressure takes many years to develop over time.
2. Secondary Hypertension
In some cases high blood pressure is caused due to some underlying health condition and this type is known as secondary hypertension. This sometimes appears suddenly and leads to high blood pressure unlike primary hypertension.
There are many health condition and medications that can lead to secondary hypertension including
- Kidney disease
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Problems related to thyroid
- Adrenal gland tumor
- Defects present in the blood vessel
- Consuming illegal drugs like amphetamines and cocaine
High blood pressure can lead to many risk factors including
- Age:- The risk of developing high blood pressure increases by age. Most of the people until the age of 64 are seen with high blood pressure and most of them are men. Women are most likely to have blood pressure after the age of 65.
- Race:- High blood pressure is commonly seen in people belonging to African heritage and they are most likely to suffer from heart attack, stroke, kidney failure etc.
- Family:- In some cases high blood pressure runs in the family and is passed from one generation to another.
- Obese:- The more you are overweight the more you need blood to supply oxygen as well as nutrients to the tissue. In turn the amount of blood flowing through the blood vessel increases, this puts pressure on the walls of the artery.
- Physically inactive:- People who do not perform any daily activities are more likely to have high heart rate. This high heart rate makes the heart work harder and with each contraction the force on the arteries becomes stronger. This lack of physical activity also increases the risk of gaining weight.
- Tobacco:- Not only smoking but chewing tobacco can increase the blood pressure temporarily. The chemicals present in the tobacco can cause the lining of arterial walls to get damaged. This causes the arteries to get narrowed and increases the risk of developing cardiac disorder.
- Consuming too much salt:- Taking too much sodium or salt in the diet can cause the body to retain the fluid which leads to high blood pressure.
- Excessive Alcohol intake:- Drinking too much of alcohol can cause the heart to get damaged. Having more than one drink a day for women and more than two drinks a day for men can affect the blood pressure. If you want to drink it in a moderate way then for a healthy adult it is recommended to take 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer and 1.5 ounces of liquor.
- Little potassium in the diet:- Balanced amount of Potassium is helpful in balancing the amount of sodium present in the cells. Potassium is very critical for maintaining the good health of the heart but not having enough potassium in the diet can lead to dehydration or other problems. Sodium will start to build up in the blood resulting in high blood pressure.
- Stress:- High levels of stress can result in temporary increase in the blood pressure. Eating more, drinking alcohol or chewing tobacco is considered as the stress-related habits that can cause increase in the blood pressure.
- Certain chronic conditions:- There are many conditions like sleep apnea, kidney disease and diabetes that can increase the development of high blood pressure.
Sometimes pregnancy is also one of the causes leading to high blood pressure Although high blood pressure is common in adults but children are also at risk. Children suffering from other heart or kidney problems might suffer from high blood pressure.
- Increase Activity: According to the studies of 2013 it has been found that participating in aerobic training can help in lowering the blood pressure. Regular exercise can increase heart as well as breathing rate and over time the heart becomes stronger and pumps effortlessly.
- Reduce or cut the intake of sugar from the diet: Many scientists have proven that reducing the sugar intake as well as carbohydrate helps in lowering weight and effectively lowering blood pressure.
- Reducing Sodium and Increasing Potassium: Potassium can effectively reduce the salt from the system and easing stress in the blood vessels. However potassium should be taken in a balanced amount as increased levels can be harmful for the kidney.
- Limiting Alcohol: It is okay to drink red wine during dinner which is perfectly fine and it also contains some health benefits that are good for the heart. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause a lot of health disorders and high blood pressure is one of them. Excessive drinking can also reduce the effect of certain types of medicine that are beneficial for blood pressure. So, it is very important to reduce the intake of alcohol in the diet.
- Reducing Stress: In today’s fast life which is filled with demands it is difficult for people to give themselves a me time and relax for a while. It is important to stay away from daily responsibilities for a few moments so that you can ease the stress.
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Hypertension is one of the top as well as common health disorders which may cause other health problems if not treated properly. Above mentioned article describes everything about hypertension along with some tips to manage high blood pressure.
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