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Top Risk Factors for Hypertension

Did you know that high blood pressure (hypertension) is actually very common? This comes as a surprise to many, but 1 in every 3 American adults has developed hypertension. That’s shocking, but there are things that you can do to reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure. You should start by learning about the most common hypertension risk factors.

Man finds out what caused his hypertension

What Determines Your Blood Pressure?

As blood flows through the arteries, the force at which it is pumped is referred to as your blood pressure. This makes it easier to see why high blood pressure can cause problems for your health if not treated properly.

There are two factors which determine a person’s blood pressure:

  • The quantity of blood that is pumped through
  • The amount of resistance this blood receives as it passes through the arteries

If a person’s heart is pumping more blood through narrowed veins and arteries, they’re blood pressure will increase. That’s why those who are diagnosed with high blood pressure need to be wary of developing heart disease.

Please note: there are some cases of high blood pressure where the cause cannot be accurately determined– this is called essential hypertension.  Our research team is conducting hypertension clinical trials in Birmingham, Alabama in order to discover the answer to these difficult questions.

The Most Common Risk Factors for Hypertension

Medical researchers have identified a number of different important risk factors for high blood pressure. Remember that cardiovascular problems are an all too common problem in this country. It’s not surprising that there are a several things that can influence a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure.

If you know these hypertension risk factors, you can take the appropriate steps to reduce your own chances of developing hypertension.

Age

You can’t really do anything about this one, but it is important to note that your overall risk starts to rise after 55. With this in mind, it is important to get your blood pressure checked intermittently after age 50.

Family History

Your family history plays a significant factor in your risk of developing many diseases and conditions, and hypertension is no exception to the rule. Simply put, if any of your family members have a history of developing hypertension, than your risk is higher than an individual with no hypertension in their family. Fortunately, there are a number of other important risk factors which are under your control.

Smoking

Studies have shown that smoking is a very potent risk factor for a number of different diseases. When it comes to hypertension, smoking is a leading risk factor. Ingesting tobacco (smoking or chewing) will immediately raise a persons blood pressure temporarily, and the chemicals within the tobacco can cause damage to the lining of the arteries.

Smoker learns that he's at risk for hypertension

Fortunately, this is a risk factor that patients can eliminate from their lives. In fact, now doctor’s are actually obliged to ask smokers if they would like to quit. Here is just one good reason to give it up.

Unhealthy Diet

Unfortunately, as a country, we do not have the best overall diet. Eating too much sodium (salt) can actually make an individual’s blood pressure worse. The biggest risk factor here is for people who are overweight or obese. This can also be combined with a lack of exercise which can lead to obesity. Insufficient exercise can also make the heart a little weaker.

Kidney Damage

It cannot be overstated how important the kidneys are for the human body. Without proper functioning kidneys, the toxins in the body are not getting effectively filtered out. Damaged kidneys can no longer properly regulate the patient’s blood pressure, and often leads to hypertension. People who have been diagnosed with diabetes need to be wary of high blood pressure, as their disease can damage their kidneys.

Ethnicity

High blood pressure tends to develop at a younger age for African Americans, compared to other ethnicities. Due to this factor, high blood pressure tends to be more common in African Americans. This is something to be mindful of, as there is a higher chance of stroke or heart attack in this group.

Hypertension Flies Under the Radar

Doctor discusses hypertension risk factors with his patientUnfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they have this hypertension, since it’s symptoms can be easy to miss. Uncontrolled, hypertension can significantly increase the patient’s risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Serious cardiovascular complications

Remember that 1 in 3 adults is living with high blood pressure, so one of the best things you can do is take steps to adopt more healthy lifestyles (like eating these heart healthy foods). Hypertension can develop over several years and most people will experience some level of high blood pressure over the course of their lives.

Fortunately, it is easy for hypertension to be diagnosed by your doctor. Once you’re told, you can begin working with their health care provider in order to properly control it.

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