High Blood Pressure Risks Explained

High blood pressure risks are factors in your life that increase your chances of developing this condition.

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your arteries. When this force gets too high, the arteries can't handle the pressure and may burst or tear. High blood pressure can also lead to many other heart problems.

Many people can control their blood pressure by making a few lifestyle changes, but for others the condition needs to be treated with medication. 

High blood pressure risks include:

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Age. Our systems seem to slow down as we age. This can lead to all sorts of health problems. But if you take care of your body by eating right and getting plenty of exercise, you can slow down the aging process and prevent many of the problems associated with old age.

Men are more likely to develop high blood pressure after the age of forty, and women often develop the condition after menopause.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is more common among the aged population

Race. You can't control the race you were born as. If you are in a high-risk race, you should try even harder to combat the factors that cause high blood pressure. People of African descent are generally at a higher risk than Caucasians.

Family history. Many diseases and health issues are hereditary. You are more likely to develop high blood pressure if one or both of your parents suffer from the condition.

Weight. The more fat you have on your body, the harder your heart has to work to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. The more blood you have circulating through your blood vessels, the more pressure there is on the walls of your arteries.

Inactivity. The more you exercise, the stronger your heart becomes. When your heart is strong, pumping blood is much easier. It doesn't have to work so hard. Being inactive weakens the heart. This means that it has to work twice as hard to circulate the blood, which increases the pressure on the arteries.

Smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco temporarily raises your blood pressure. Over time, the chemicals in tobacco can damage the protective layer in the walls of your arteries, causing the passages to narrow, and restricting the flow of blood.

Salt. Everyone needs salt in their diet, but too much can lead to fluid retention. This excess fluid in your system increases blood pressure.

Not enough potassium. Potassium is important for regulating the sodium in your system. When there isn't enough potassium in your diet, or your body doesn't retain the amount you need, excess sodium can build up in your blood.

Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is important to a variety of organs in your body. Studies show that vitamin D deficiency is the cause of several conditions, including psoriasis, cancer and high blood pressure. Vitamin D helps your kidneys regulate blood pressure.

Alcohol use. Heavy drinking is hard on your heart. This means your heart has to work harder, causing extra pressure on your arteries.

Researchers recommend you have less than two drinks per day to keep your blood pressure normal. Studies suggest the type of alcohol doesn't matter, but some experts believe hard liquor is more harmful than beer or wine.

Stress. When you are over-stressed, your heart tends to beat faster. This puts extra strain on your arteries. In order to relieve this stress, people often have a drink, smoke a cigarette or indulge in "comfort food." This may temporarily relieve your stress, but the long-term effects include damage to your heart and high blood pressure.

Relaxation or meditation are much better stress relievers. Going for a walk is also a much better way to relieve stress, while at the same time doing something good for your body and your heart.

Pregnancy. Some woman experience high blood pressure during pregnancy. This may or may not continue after giving birth. Eating right and getting plenty of exercise can help reduce your blood pressure.

High blood pressure is very common during pregnancy

High Blood Pressure is On the Rise

High blood pressure develops over time. That is why it is more common in adults than in children.

Years of poor eating habits, lack of exercise and other bad habits increase high blood pressure risks.

However, doctors are seeing more cases of children with high blood pressure. An unhealthy diet and not enough exercise is putting excess strain on their kidneys, and contributing to their risk of developing high blood pressure at a young age.

Reduce Your Own High Blood Pressure Risks

A few simple lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your high blood pressure risks. A strong, healthy heart means a longer and happier life. See this video for more information on simple, positive steps you can make.

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