Nearly half of all Americans have high blood pressure or hypertension. Blood pressure measures the amount of force put on blood vessels as blood flows through the body. High blood pressure means that the body is working too hard to pump blood. This is dangerous because it can lead to elastic arteries, muscular arteries, heart attack or heart failure. High blood pressure can also lead to other health conditions such as stroke, vision loss, and kidney disease.
There are many causes of high blood pressure, and many of them can be controlled by changes to your lifestyle. However, in some cases, high blood pressure may require medication. Below is a list of some causes of high blood pressure that you should consider when evaluating if you or a loved one are at risk of developing it.
The type of fuel you feed your body will determine how well it can run. That’s why diet is so important.
- One food that can cause high blood pressure is salt. Salt retains water in your body, and this extra water not only puts a strain on several internal organs, including the heart; it also forces the heart to increase the blood pressure in the body to keep things moving.
- Alcohol can also contribute to high blood pressure if not consumed in moderation for similar reasons.
- Finally, an overall unhealthy diet lacking of vegetables and fruits can also cause high blood pressure. Too many calories, fats (saturated and trans), salt, and sugar all contribute to increasing the risk of high blood pressure.
Your lifestyle choices impact your quality of life as well as your health.
- Smoking is detrimental to the heart because it causes high blood pressure and damages the heart’s arteries. The nicotine in cigarettes spikes blood pressure and heart rate immediately after smoking.
- Lack of exercise is another reason for high blood pressure. Regular exercise makes the heart stronger and allows the heart to flow blood properly. When you don’t exercise, the heart doesn’t have practice pumping blood and the force in the heart arteries decreases overtime. Then, when you exert even a small amount of force, your blood pressure will rise significantly.
- Being overweight or obese tremendously increases blood pressure because of the extra pressure put on the arteries. A healthy lifestyle with no smoking, regular exercise and a healthy weight can reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
Other Health Conditions
Other health conditions have an impact on the heart and its functions.
- Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure because the frequent stops in normal breathing causes the heart to work harder than it needs to, leading it to increase the blood pressure.
- High blood pressure is a thyroid disorder. An imbalance in the thyroid hormones leads to several cardiovascular problems including hypertension.
It is important to have all of your health conditions medically under control because they can have complex relationships with other parts of the body and lead to other health problems such as hypertension.
Finally, genetics and family history can also cause high blood pressure. Unfortunately, a person can have a very healthy lifestyle and diet and no other health conditions and still develop high blood pressure in their lives. Genetics or a family history of hypertension can make you prone to hypertension naturally. If this is the case, it’s important to control the high blood pressure through medication prescribed by your doctor. Additionally, take precautions by having a healthy lifestyle and diet so that the existing hypertension condition is worsened.
If you think you or a loved one may be at risk of high blood pressure, it’s important to act now so it can be controlled as soon as possible. The SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation, LLC is committed to superior patient care. If you or a loved one is looking for quality medical care, call 803-749-1111 to make an appointment today.