High blood pressure or hypertension can occur due to any number of factors in a person’s life or by many factors all adding together. However, the hard truth is that if you don’t control your blood pressure (BP ), it can lead to many serious medical conditions, including heart attack and stroke. By understanding the causes of high BP, you can learn how to prevent your levels from exceeding the normal range and thereby, lead a healthier lifestyle.
Causes of High Blood pressure
In many situations, the reasons for hypertension are not known. Such a condition is primary hypertension and it develops over several years. However, there are certain underlying health conditions that cause a sudden rise in blood pressure. In such cases, it is called secondary hypertension. The causes of secondary hypertension are-
One of the major causes is cholesterol. In most cases, a person with higher than-normal cholesterol levels will suffer from hypertension as well. This is due to the fatty deposits left on the artery walls from the cholesterol in the bloodstream. The body actually needs no cholesterol, since it produces enough on its own, but the diet often introduces more into the body.
When no more can be absorbed into the bloodstream, the cells deposit fat onto the walls of the arteries. This fat turns into a hard plaque, making the blood vessels smaller and smaller over time.
However, the same amount of blood needs to flow through these smaller spaces, thereby creating higher blood pressure.
An unhealthy diet that has excessive salt and less potassium also raise blood pressure. The excess sodium retains fluid and thus increases BP.
Glucose, or blood sugar, increases due to diabetes, in which the body does not produce the chemical that regulates blood sugar. Ingesting food high in sugar, such as most desserts, can also cause your blood sugar to increase, as can stress, hormone levels, and infection.
When there is more glucose in the bloodstream, your blood is essentially thicker, and harder to push through your arteries and veins, creating a rise in blood pressure.
Being obese or overweight means, more nutrients and oxygen needs to be pushed to the body. These put pressure on blood to exert higher in the arteries. This results in high BP. Besides, obesity also causes fat buildup in arteries which eventually, causes higher BP.
Family History of Blood Pressure
People having a family history have higher chances of acquiring it. So, it is better to be aware and proactive, and save yourself through regular medical checkups.
Smoking and Alcohol
Hypertension does not only come from an unhealthy diet but can also occur due to drug intake as well. People who drink alcohol excessively, for example, increase their risk greatly of having hypertension. Caffeine is another drug that is proven to raise blood pressure, especially in combination with nicotine, which is available in cigarettes.
Both smoking as well as passive smoking, damage and narrow down the arteries, which further increases the BP.
Moreover, chewing tobacco releases certain chemicals that adversely affect the arteries. Many other narcotics, especially those that are illegal in the United States, have also been shown to increase blood pressure.
Several other causes of High BP are a sedentary lifestyle, lack of workout routine, and increased stress levels. Moreover, other conditions such as thyroid, kidney diseases, pregnancy sleep apnea also contribute to BP issues.
Also, certain medications such as antidepressants and birth control pills can also contribute to a rise in BP.