Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a fairly common ailment affecting numerous people globally. Blood pressure refers to the force that blood exerts the walls of the blood vessels by pushing against them in your body. Your heart pumps the blood, causing it to go into the blood vessels, and in turn, the blood vessels carry the blood to all the parts of the body. High blood pressure is considered a dangerous disease because it causes the heart to work harder than normal to pump the blood to circulate it in the body. It also contributes to the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart attacks, strokes, kidney diseases, and heart failure.
Before moving on to what are the causes of high blood pressure, it is important to understand what constitutes hypertension. Blood pressure is measured in units known as mm Hg and is written as a fraction, with the numerator depicting your systolic pressure, and the denominator showing your diastolic pressure. The different levels of blood pressure are shown below:
• Normal BP measures at 120 over 80 (120/80)
• Elevated BP measures at 120–129/less than 80
• Stage 1 high BP measures at 130–139/80–89
• Stage 2 high BP measures 140 and above/90 and above.
• Hypertensive crisis measures at higher than 180/higher than 120, which is when you should seek urgent medical care. In such cases, keep an eye out for the causes of sudden high blood pressure and if you see symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, visit a doctor immediately.
If your blood pressure is above the normal range, you should consult your doctor to learn more about how you can reduce or manage it.
What are the causes of high blood pressure in adults?
Although the exact causes of blood pressure are unknown, there are several factors that contribute to its development. They are as follows:
Smoking has been known to put a strain on various organs and contribute to the occurrence of several diseases. Thus, many doctors advise that quitting smoking is integral to lowering your blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Blood pressure tends to increase with weight. Generally, people that are obese or carry a lot of weight around their waist are at risk of developing high blood pressure. Additionally, if you are overweight, you might also experience disrupted breathing, which may cause sleep apnoea and, as a result, high blood pressure.
If you fail to exercise on a regular basis and lead a sedentary lifestyle, your heart may not be as strong as it can be. A strong heart can pump more blood with less effort, and the force of blood on artery walls may decrease. Thus, if you want to prevent high blood pressure or manage your hypertension levels, engaging in physical activity every day is an excellent solution.
Excessive salt intake
If you consume more salt than the amount needed by your body, you run the risk of developing high blood pressure. To ensure that you reduce your salt intake, you should take some measures such as checking nutritional labels, cooking your own food, and avoiding processed food.
Again, drinking too much alcohol can cause a spike in your blood pressure. Thus, on a daily basis, you should restrict yourself to a limited amount of alcohol. If you already have hypertension and are taking medicine for the same, you should cut down on alcohol consumption as it can reduce the effectiveness of your medicines.
Although there isn’t as much research available on the subject, chronically high-stress levels generally do contribute to high blood pressure measurements. Thus, you must ensure that you do not take on excessive stress or inculcate practices that help you manage stressors without it affecting your health.
Our organs are susceptible to wear and tear with usage. Thus, as you get older, your heart will not be as strong as it used to be. In such cases, the force of blood will have an effect on your arteries, causing spikes in blood pressure. Of course, factors, such as your lifestyle, diet, and family health history, do play a role in this condition too. However, as you age, you must get your blood pressure checked more often.
Is losing weight one of the causes of hypertension?
No, losing weight is not one of the causes of hypertension. Rather, gaining weight can contribute to you developing high blood pressure. Thus, medical professionals often advise that if you want to prevent, or manage, hypertension, you must focus on losing weight, especially around the waist.
Is eating non-vegetarian food one of the causes of hypertension?
No, not all non-vegetarian food causes hypertension. Certain non-vegetarian items, such as eggs, chicken, and fish, are considered a part of a balanced diet and provide ample necessary nutrition. However, red meat can raise a person’s blood pressure. Thus, if you enjoy non-vegetarian food, keep an eye on your red meat consumption to avoid hypertension.
Which are the most common causes of hypertension?
The most common causes of hypertension include constant smoking, being overweight, not exercising, drinking too much alcohol, excessive stress, and inadequate sleep.
Do note that the causes of high blood pressure in young adults, adults, and children may differ.
Does eating food outside cause hypertension?
Not necessarily. If you eat outside food once in a while and generally eat healthy, your blood pressure should not be affected. However, if you eat out excessively, and that too, if you choose extra salty food and processed items, you expose yourself to the risk of developing high blood pressure. Do not that there are various factors that may come together to make an individual predisposed to developing hypertension.
Is working late hours one of the causes of hypertension?
Yes, chronically working later hours could cause hypertension. If working late hours affects your quality of sleep and causes stress, you could run the risk of developing hypertension.