5 Causes of High Blood Pressure

While most people know that high blood pressure is dangerous, many are unaware of what causes this problem. Normally, the heart pumps blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is the measure of how much blood is pushed against the blood vessel walls. If someone has hypertension, it means that the heart is working harder to push blood through the body. Left untreated, this can lead to strokes, heart failure, hardening of the arteries and kidney disease.

1. Being Overweight

The human body is meant to be at a normal weight. When someone gains too much weight, it causes there to be too much resistance in the blood vessels. As a result, the heart is forced to work harder to move blood throughout the body. Being overweight or obese is a key risk factor for hypertension. Luckily, this cause is easily remedied by losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

2. High Sodium Intake

Normally, sodium and other electrolytes operate in a careful balance in the body. When someone consumes too much sodium or has a sodium sensitivity, this balance is broken. Eating too much salt increases the amount of sodium in the bloodstream. This means that the kidneys are unable to remove water from the body like they should. As a result, the blood pressure goes up. The blood vessels that lead to the kidneys are also put under an extra, unhealthy strain.

3. Alcohol Consumption

Drinking too much alcohol can hurt the kidneys and liver. It can also cause high blood pressure. When someone drinks too much or too frequently, it increases the blood pressure and the individual’s risk of heart failure. It also contributes to obesity, which is another cause of hypertension. As a rule, men should drink less than two drinks per day. Women should stick to less than a drink a day.

4. Genetics

Many medical conditions are linked to genetics. Someone who has a family history of hypertension is more likely to develop it. Other than genetics, individuals have to consider their environment. Families often share the same type of diet and lifestyle. These environmental factors can increase someone’s hypertension risks just as much as genetics do. When hereditary risk factors are combined with poor lifestyle choices, medical problems are more likely to happen.

5. Age

While men and women have about the same risk of developing hypertension, older people have a much higher risk than the young. An estimated 9 out of 10 Americans will end up suffering from this condition during their lifetime. This risk increases as someone gets older. Men are also more likely to develop hypertension before the age of 55. Meanwhile, women have a higher risk after they go through menopause.

While individuals may not be able to change their age or genetics, there are some risk factors that can be changed. Eating a low sodium diet, quitting smoking, exercising and losing weight can all help individuals reduce their chances of developing hypertension. By removing these risk factors, individuals can reduce the severity and the complications of their high blood pressure.