Understanding Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
There is no single identifiable cause but there are several risk factors that are associated with hypertension -
Factors Out of Your Control (Non-modifiable) -
- Age - with increasing age, risk of hypertension becomes higher, more due to hardening of artery walls (arteriosclerosis)
- Family history- with one hypertensive parent, chances of developing hypertension becomes twice as compared to normal population.
- Race- African-Americans develop high blood pressure more often than other races.
Factors You Can Control (Modifiable) -
- Obesity or being overweight - blood pressure increases with increase in weight. So being overweight increases the risk.
- Sedentary lifestyle - lack of moderate physical activity or exercise.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- High sodium intake - Some people are sensitive to sodium (salt), and their blood pressure increases if they use salt. Reducing salt in their diet helps in managing their blood pressure. Processed foods contain high amounts of sodium.
- Stress or anxiety
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Medications - Certain drugs such as amphetamines, diet pills (appetite suppressants), certain cold medications like pseudoephedrine and birth control pill can elevate the blood pressure.
- Other medical conditions - hypertension can by caused by other conditions like diabetes, atherosclerosis, chronic kidney disease, autoimmune disorder, coarctation of aorta, renal artery stenosis etc.
- Hormone imbalance - endocrine disorders such as thyroid disorder, adrenal tumors and Cushing syndrome also cause hypertension.