Causes Of High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure represents the amount force exerted against the blood vessel walls as blood is pumped throughout the body. The heart is the organ responsible for the pumping blood, which is carried by arteries toward various body locations. High blood pressure or hypertension is health condition wherein the heart is force to put extra work in pumping blood. As a result, arteries may suffer from hardening, a condition known as atherosclerosis, or other conditions, such as stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure may occur.

NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE

The measurement for blood pressure includes two numbers. The top member represents the systolic pressure, whereas the bottom figure indicates the diastolic pressure. The different ranges of blood pressure associated with various conditions are as follows:

  • Normal blood pressure: <120/180

  • Prehypertension: 120–139/80–89

  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140–150 over 90–99

  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above

  • High blood pressure in people 60 years and older: 150 and above/90 and above

The information above can be used by people to determine whether they should consult their physicians regarding the possibility of having high blood pressure.

CAUSES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

Experts are not yet sure regarding the specific causes of high blood pressure, though the condition has been linked to several important factors that contribute to its development:

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

  • Lack of physical exercise

  • Old age

  • Genetics

  • High-salt diet

  • Alcoholism

  • Stress

  • Family history of hypertension

  • Sleep apnea

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders

DEFINING ESSENTIAL HYPERTENSION

Essential hypertension is the type of high blood pressure with unknown causes. Around 95% of the high blood pressure cases in the US are considered the essential type.

Though the causes for this specific type of high blood pressure are still unknown, there are certain risk factors that have been associated with the disease. For instance, this type of high blood pressure is commonly inherited and is more prevalent in men than women. Age and race are also considered determinants of essential high blood pressure. Black people are more likely to have the condition compared with the whites, but the difference diminishes by the age of 44. Meanwhile, by the age of 65, black women are the most susceptible to affliction with high blood pressure.

Diet and lifestyle also contribute to the development of hypertension. In fact, consumption of high-salt diet coincides with increased risk of high blood pressure development. In the norther islands of Japan, the local people eat more salt compared with other members of the total population. As a result, these people have the highest cases of essential hypertension. On the other hand, people who consume less salty food are less likely to develop essential hypertension.

Most of the people with essential hypertension are “salt sensitive.” This means that consumption of even the minimally excessive amount of salt may already lead to increased blood pressure. Some factors that are associated with increased risk of essential hypertension development include diabetes, stress, obesity, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, and deficiencies in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

DEFINING SECONDARY HYPERTENSION

In contrast to essential hypertension, the causes of secondary hypertension are known. The most prevalent cause of hypertension is kidney disease. In addition, tumors and other abnormalities that trigger excessive hormone secretion by the adrenal glands may also lead to the development of secondary hypertension. Hormone-related drugs, such as birth control pills, medicines for blood vessel constriction, and pregnancy may also contribute to the build-up of blood pressure.

PEOPLE WHO ARE PRONE TO DEVELOPING HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

  • Smokers

  • Pregnant women

  • People with family members who have high blood pressure

  • Women who take birth control pills

  • People aged 35 years and older

  • Obese individuals

  • Inactive people

  • Alcoholics

  • People who consume fatty and salty foods in excessive amounts

  • People afflicted with sleep apnea