What Causes High Blood Pressure?

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can be caused by many different things. If your blood pressure gets too high and stays that way, it can cause health problems. Uncontrolled high blood pressure puts people at risk for heart attacks, strokes, heart disease and kidney failure.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the pressure, or the force of blood in one’s circulatory system. It is often measured as a diagnostic to help determine the health of a person’s heart because it is related to the force and rate of the heartbeat, and the diameter and elasticity of the heart’s arterial walls. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins carry deoxygenated blood from the tissues back to the heart  When the heart beats, it pushes blood through the arteries. The flow of blood puts pressure on the artery walls.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is caused by blood moving through a person’s arteries at a higher pressure than is normal and healthy for their body. If a person’s blood pressure gets too high or stays high for a long time, it can cause health problems and it puts them at a higher risk for stroke, heart disease, heart attack and kidney failure.

Two Types of High Blood Pressure

When there is no known cause of a person’s high blood pressure, it is called primary hypertension or essential hypertension. This is more common than secondary hypertension that is caused by a health problem or medication.

Primary Hypertension

Also called essential hypertension, primary hypertension is the most common type of high blood pressure. This kind of high blood pressure, typically develops over many years of life. While individual cases can be highly varied, this kind of high blood pressure is likely caused by lifestyle, environmental factors, heredity and how an individual’s body ages. 

Common links to primary hypertension include but are not limited to:

– Smoking

– Too much salt (sodium chloride) in one’s diet

– Genetics

– Too much alcohol consumption

– Lack of physical activity and/or exercise

– Obesity or being overweight

– High levels of stress

– Aging and old age

Secondary Hypertension

Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that is caused by a medication or a health problem. 

Common causes of secondary hypertension include but are not limited to:

– Adrenal gland problems

– Certain medications

– Kidney problems

– Sleep apnea

– Thyroid problems

Dangers of High Blood Pressure

While high blood pressure can cause serious health problems that can lead to death, another dangerous factor is that most people with high blood pressure do not have symptoms. Because of this, high blood pressure is often called the silent killer.

While most people do not experience symptoms of high blood pressure, some people experience headaches, nosebleeds and/or shortness of breath. These symptoms are common for a wide variety of reasons and may not be an indication of high blood pressure.

Check Your Blood Pressure

Checking your blood pressure on a regular basis can help to prevent health problems and complications that are linked to high blood pressure. 

It is very important that you see a doctor if you have high blood pressure.

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