What Causes High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is a common condition. It is a lifestyle disorder with modifiable risk factors. Although it may run in family, in most cases it is environmentally acquired. Since many are not aware, often this condition goes unnoticed. After a time period, continuous high force of blood against the artery may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease, stroke etc.
Blood pressure is determined by the amount of pumping force of the heart. It also depends on resistance to blood flow in arteries. The more blood pumped by the heart narrows the arteries and leads to higher blood pressure. A blood pressure reading is measured in columns of mercury (mmHg).
It has two numbers:
The first upper number which measures the pressure in the arteries when your heart beats.
The second lower number which measures the pressure in the arteries between beats.
Normal blood pressure is 90/60 mmHg to 120/80 mmHg
High Blood pressure is more than 120/80 mmHg.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of serious health conditions like heart attack, stroke. We can detect high blood pressure easily in a routine health check.
- Severe headache
- Nose bleed
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problem
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heart beta
- Blood in urine
- Heart palpitations
What Causes high blood pressure?
There are two types of blood pressure:
For adults, when there is no identifiable cause of high blood pressure it is called primary hypertension. Eventually, primary hypertension is found after a long period of gradual rise in blood pressure.
Some people will have high blood pressure which is caused by another medical condition. Also, it tends to appear and cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension. The various conditions are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Kidney disease
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Thyroid problems
- Certain defects in blood vessel
- Certain medications
- Illegal drugs, smoking
Risk factors for high blood pressure
High blood pressure is associated with many risk factors, some of them are:
Age: The risk of high blood pressure increases with advancing age. At the age above 60 it is very common to have blood pressure.
Family history: High blood pressure runs in the families. making children of affected parents more susceptible.
Obese: The more obese, the more blood needs to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. The amount of blood flow through blood vessels increases in obese persons. As a result, the high pressure on the artery walls leads to hypertension.
Lack of exercise: People who are inactive in exercise or lack of physical activity increases the risk of being overweight.
Using tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco instantly increases the blood pressure. It is temporary, however the chemical in tobacco can damage the lining of the artery wall.
Taking much salt: Too much sodium in the diet can cause the body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
Less amount of potassium: Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in cells. A proper balance of potassium is essential for healthy living.
Drinking more alcohol: More or heavy drinking alcohol also damages the heart and liver. Alcohol addiction will increase blood pressure.
Stress: High levels of stress can lead to temporary increase in the blood pressure. Stressed related habits like eating more, drinking alcohol, bad habits need to be avoided.
Certain chronic conditions: Some chronic conditions may also increase the blood pressure like kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea. Sometimes the pregnancy can also cause high blood pressure.
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Weakened and narrow blood vessel in kidneys
- Thickened, narrow or torn blood vessel in eyes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Trouble in memory or understanding
Some food that are help reduce hypertension
- Citrus fruits: grapefruit, oranges, lemons which will have more powerful blood pressure lowering effects.
- Salmon and other fatty fish
- Swiss chard
- Pumpkin seeds
- Beans and lentils
The effective ways to lower the blood pressure:
- Increase activity and exercise more.
- Lose weight if you are obese
- Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Eat more potassium and less sodium
- Eat less processed food
- Stop smoking
- Reduce excess stress
- Try medications or yoga
- Eat some dark chocolate
- Try medicinal herbs
- Make sure to get good, restful sleep
- Eat garlic or take garlic extract supplements
- Eat healthy high protein foods
- Take BP lowering supplements
- Drink less alcohol or avoid alcohol
- Consider cutting back on caffeine
- Taking prescription medication