Causes of High Blood Pressure

Family history, weight, and other common causes of high blood pressure

With hypertension being such a prevalent disease, knowing the causes of high blood pressure can add years to your life. There is no single root cause of high blood pressure; instead, a combination of unalterable and modifiable risk factors all help contribute to the development of hypertension.

Family history is a major cause of high blood pressure. Research from Johns Hopkins University estimated that between 35 and 65 percent of all hypertension instances are inherited. People with parents who developed high blood pressure before the age of 55 were found more likely to develop early hypertension. Age is also considered a cause of high blood pressure as it is often developed after age 55.

If you have a family history of hypertension at a young age, it is important to monitor your blood pressure at an early age to reduce the risk of hypertension or to control it. Modifiable causes of high blood pressure include proper weight, diet and physical activity.

Of all modifiable causes of high blood pressure, weight is the most culpable, with over 60 percent of hypertension partly stemming from being obese. As weight increases to abnormal levels, the arteries stiffen and restrict blood flow. This causes the heart to work harder and results in high blood pressure.

The kidney also suffers in obese individuals, as it will fail to effectively treat the fluids within the body. The kidney in turn releases more hormones that raise blood pressure in an attempt to make up for its slow performance. Weight loss is the most effective treatment of high blood pressure outside of medication, emphasizing a need to maintain a healthy weight.

Since a poor diet is a proven cause of high blood pressure, there are certain do’s and don'ts when it comes to hypertensive individuals. Anyone with high blood pressure should seriously consider removing excess alcohol from their diet, as it has been known to damage blood vessels and sharply raise blood pressure. Although alcohol may be drunk before the onset of high blood pressure and is considered safe in moderation, those already with hypertension should refrain from drinking. Excess salt consumption is another cause of high blood pressure and attention should be paid to the recommended sodium intake for each age category. Trans-fats should be completely removed from your diet.

Diet isn't the only lifestyle-related cause of high blood pressure. Stress is another important risk factor that often stems from numerous sources, including work, social environment and relationships. With the onset of stress coming from a temporary increase in blood pressure, the brain will rush to cope with the situation at hand. Addressing causes of stress would help lower a possible cause of high blood pressure.

Hypertension can stem from age, family history, obesity, inactivity and poor diet. Talking to your doctor to develop a plan for a healthier lifestyle can help to avoid common causes of high blood pressure.