What causes high blood pressure? There are many different contributing factors that can be changed by changes in lifestyle. The most common causes are inherited genetic factors and environmental factors. However, sometimes even a combination of these two can give rise to hypertension.
One of the main environmental risk factors for hypertension is diet. Blood pressure usually rises slowly with a diet rich in fat. Obesity is a risk factor for hypertension and should be controlled. The causes are often related to diet. Many medications cause blood vessels to enlarge. Medications that include anti-diuretics and anti-inflammatories which cause fluid retention and increase blood flow to the kidneys are also one example of medications that increase blood pressure. Other types of medications that will increase your risk factors for hypertension are steroids, diet drugs, birth control pills, anti-inflammatory drugs and some antidepressants.
A dash diet, or a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, fiber, and potassium, is one of the most important dietary changes you can make to lower blood pressure, along with drinking plenty of water. These dietary changes alone may help lower your pressure somewhat, but they are not the whole story. You need to make other changes in your lifestyle to help reduce hypertension.
Another common cause of hypertension is sodium. Salt is often added to foods because it gives the food a better taste or to add moisture. The sodium can cause your heart to beat faster and more strongly, which may cause short-term discomfort, but it can eventually lead to more serious health problems. Eating foods high in sodium such as canned vegetables and soup may temporarily raise your blood pressure, but if you avoid sodium, the problem will abate reasonably quickly. Lowering your sodium consumption will help keep your blood pressure lower for the long term.
Although kidney disease generally leads to kidney failure, certain conditions, particularly kidney failure, can cause hypertension. When there is an increased risk of kidney failure, the kidneys themselves are also at risk. The kidneys are organs that filter and clean the bloodstream. If they fail, the bloodstream becomes contaminated with toxins that build up in the body from the toxins in the urine and from the drugs used to treat it.
Also, hypertension is often associated with high blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol buildup in the artery walls narrows the passageways, which increases the force the heart has to work with to pump blood throughout the body. Over time, this can lead to heart attacks, strokes, heart failure or even kidney disease. To reduce your chance of developing hypertension, you should try to have less cholesterol in your diet. To do that, look for foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids (fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, salmon, poultry, legumes, etc).
Both hypertension and stress are known to increase the level of “stress hormones” in the body. And just as with high blood pressure, when you experience high stress levels, you’re at greater risk of developing hypertension. Both stress and hypertension can be addressed by making sure that your lifestyle includes plenty of exercise, relaxation and sleep. The easiest and most affordable way to go about addressing hypertension and stress is through a combination of medication, healthy living, and behavioral changes. Medication, if used properly, can help to lower the levels of stress hormones in your body.
Certain medications, including blood thinners, anti-seizure medicines, chemotherapy drugs and antidepressants can cause hypertension. Some medications have other side effects that may lead to even more pressure buildup. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before taking any medications to lower your blood pressure. Other strategies that you can use to lower blood pressure include dietary modifications, stress reduction techniques, physical activity, alcohol avoidance, quitting smoking and other tobacco use, increasing your physical activity and eliminating excess sodium from your diet. If you’re willing to put some time into making some lifestyle changes, you can greatly lower your hypertension.