Common Causes of High Blood Pressure

I briefly touched on the causes of high blood pressure in another article, “High Blood Pressure Remedies”. Now I’d like to examine these causes in greater depth. Poor lifestyle choices substantially increase your risk of high blood pressure making it more likely that you will suffer heart disease and strokes at some time in your life. I feel it is critical to understand that how we live our lives can determine our future wellness.

Around 90-95% of high blood pressure reported in the U.S. has no identifiable cause. This is known as “essential hypertension”. I’d like to take a look at some causes of hypertension that can and can’t be changed. Let’s take a look at some aspects of high blood pressure that may be out of our control.

Causes of High Blood Pressure that CAN’T be changed:

Family History and Gender: If your mom and dad had hypertension, you are at increased risk. If you are male this risk rises as high blood pressure affects more men than women.

Age: As we age our systolic blood pressure increases and the more likely we are to suffer the effects of earlier choices such as smoking, weight gain, a sedentary lifestyle and poor stress management.

Race: Many people are surprised to learn that ethnicity plays a role in the development of high blood pressure. Rates of hypertension are lower in Caucasians than in African Americans. African Americans are more likely to suffer blood pressure elevation at a much younger age. When complications do occur they are more severe in this group.

Socio-Economic Status: People with lower education levels and socio-economic status are more likely to have hypertension than wealthier, educated sectors of the population. For example, people living in the south eastern United States are at a greater risk whether they are Caucasian or African American.

Causes of High Blood Pressure that you CAN change:

Lack of exercise: By now you all know that I am a staunch advocate of regular aerobic, strength and endurance training. How frequently and intensively you engage in these depends on your age, health status and time constraints but one thing which remains constant is your need to incorporate daily or weekly exercise into your life.

Obesity: Being overweight makes you two to six times more susceptible to high blood pressure. I cannot emphasise enough how important maintaining a healthy weight is to wellness. Our bodies are simply not designed to carry excess weight and a pretty obvious consequence is that pressure is placed on the heart, lungs and internal organs.

Unless you are morbidly obese or ill it’s easy to begin an exercise program, stick to it and lose any weight which is putting you at risk for hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

What is obesity? A person is considered obese when they have a Body Mass Index of greater than 30. A BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight. If you already have hypertension you are strongly advised to lose weight.

You should never be more than 15% over your recommended body weight and should pay attention to where that weight is located. Weight gain around the abdomen is more dangerous than fat around the hips and thighs.

Lack of exercise: By now you all know that I am a staunch advocate of regular aerobic, strength and endurance training. How frequently and intensively you engage in these depends on your age, health status and time constraints but one thing which remains constant is your need to incorporate daily or weekly exercise into your life.

Salt Intake: Sodium sensitivity is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure. If your blood pressure has increased you should reduce your salt intake. The American Heart Association recommends reducing daily intake to 1500mg.

Remember you are in control of your own wellness. Get and keep your blood pressure under control!

For more information on high blood pressure check out this article:
“Natural High Blood Pressure Remedies”

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