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Hypertension

Hypertension - Causes and Risk Factors

Causes of Hypertension

In most cases of hypertension in adults, there is no known cause. This type of hypertension is called primary or essential hypertension and it has usually developed over many years.

In 5 to 10 percent of cases, hypertension is caused by other underlying medical conditions.

Risk Factors of Hypertension

Factors you cannot control

Age. Older people are at a higher risk of developing hypertension. Women are at higher risk after menopause.

Family history. Hypertension tends to run in families.

Factors you can control

Smoking. Chemicals in cigarettes cause the heart to pump faster and lead to higher blood pressure.

Alcohol. Your blood pressure can be elevated by alcohol consumption as the body releases hormones that increase blood flow and heart rate.

Overweight. The heart needs to pump harder to supply a person who is overweight. You can reduce your risk of getting high blood pressure by keeping your body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 22.9.

Too much salt in diet. Blood pressure is increased as salt causes the body to retain too much fluid.

Inactive lifestyle. People who are physically inactive often have higher heart rates, which means that the heart must work harder and exert more force on the arteries.

High blood cholesterol. Your blood vessels become more rigid due to atherosclerosis, a process where fatty substances are deposited in blood vessel walls.

Other health conditions. About 10 percent of people with high blood pressure have underlying kidney diseases or hormonal disorders.

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