Hypertension puts America under a lot of pressure. Nearly half a million Americans died due to hypertension in 2018. Nearly half of adults have hypertension, yet only one-quarter of them have it under control.
One reason why hypertension is so persistent is that there are many causes of hypertension. Yet, most people are not aware of them.
What causes hypertension, including genetic sources? What other health conditions can result in high blood pressure? What should a person do to decrease their risk?
Answer these questions, and you can lower your blood pressure for many years to come. Here is your quick guide.
A 2018 study found that the heritability of high blood pressure is roughly 30 to 50 percent. Genetics is an important factor in hypertension, but there are other high blood pressure causes.
Links between hypertension and several particular genes have been identified. The FBN1 gene is associated with vascular damage. Veins and vessels become smaller, making it hard for blood to pass through.
Some medical conditions like Liddle syndrome cause high blood pressure as a side effect. Most of these conditions are passed through family members, meaning genes are complicit in them.
Older people tend to have higher blood pressure than younger people. Blood vessels grow tighter and less flexible. Hormones in older people change, affecting the chemicals in their blood.
Older people are also less active. This makes it harder for them to develop heart and muscle strength.
There are several stages of hypertension. Normal levels are when a person has 120/80 mm Hg. A person has elevated blood pressure when they read between 120-129 systolic and less than 80 diastolic.
Hypertension Stage 1 ranges between 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic. Hypertension Stage 2 occurs when a person’s blood pressure rises above 140/90.
These stages are not determined by age. But older individuals tend to progress into Stage 2 rather quickly. Most require hypertension medications in order to prevent a hypertensive crisis.
Many obese people have high blood pressure in addition to other heart problems. Having a lot of body fat is one reason why. The heart has to work faster in order to pump blood out, which puts stress on it.
Some obese people have high cholesterol, which can build up inside of arteries. This naturally increases blood pressure and makes an individual susceptible to heart attacks.
Diabetes causes arteries to harden up. The harder they get, the less flexible they become, which drives up a person’s blood pressure.
High blood sugar also makes it hard for blood to flow. Sugar can build up inside the blood, increasing pressure.
The fluid inside the blood vessels increases, putting pressure against arterial walls. If the pancreas produces too much insulin at once, the heart increases blood pressure so the insulin can flow out.
People with diabetes must treat their high blood sugar and pressure levels simultaneously. Most methods decrease both, including diet and exercise.
Secondary hypertension is hypertension that occurs as a result of another problem. Genetic disorders and diabetes are two main causes of hypertension.
But there are many other disorders that can create it. The kidneys filter the blood, removing wastes and impurities. If they become diseased or inflamed, a person may develop high blood pressure.
The thyroid produces hormones and regulates the body’s metabolism. If it starts to break down, the heart rate may change suddenly. This can help raise blood pressure.
Hypertension management becomes very difficult when there are underlying conditions. Someone can have high blood pressure without presenting symptoms of it. The symptoms of their underlying condition may be more prominent, which prevents them from decreasing their blood pressure.
Some medications like Cialis may affect blood pressure. Patients should talk to their doctors before taking any pills.
Cholesterol can build up on arterial walls if a person consumes excessive amounts of it. It is important for people to eat healthy cholesterol, which comes from whole grains and vegetables. But cholesterol is just one dietary factor.
When sodium enters the bloodstream, the body holds onto extra water. This causes blood pressure to rise significantly. Everyone should limit their consumption of processed foods, which have large amounts of added salt.
People should also limit their consumption of refined carbohydrates, which can cause diabetes. Whole grains do not spike blood sugar levels as much as white flour and sugar.
Inactivity makes a person more susceptible to conditions like diabetes that cause hypertension. Most people who live sedentary lifestyles also eat unhealthy foods high in sodium. In and of itself, an inactive life is a risk factor.
Exercise builds muscles around the heart. It is easier for it to pump blood, even to faraway areas like the fingers and toes.
The less exercise the heart has, the less refined its muscles are. It must work harder to pump blood throughout the body, increasing pressure.
Tobacco contains numerous chemicals that harden blood vessel walls. Inhaling smoke by itself damages the lungs, preventing oxygen from entering the bloodstream. The heart has to work harder to deliver oxygen to tissues, driving up the pressure.
A person who smokes should quit immediately. They can use nicotine patches to wean themselves off of nicotine right away. The less tobacco they put into their bodies, the better.
The Main Causes of Hypertension
You must know about the most significant causes of hypertension. Many people are at genetic risk for hypertension. This makes it important to track one’s family history.
Old age, obesity, and diabetes are linked to each other. People must eat a balanced diet to keep their body fat and blood sugar levels down.
They should monitor themselves for underlying conditions that can impact their blood pressure. If they don’t exercise, they should do some cardio workouts.
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