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Hypertension Causes and Risk Factors

There is no way to tell if you have the high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. In most cases you won’t notice it. If you’re one of the 78 million Americans suffering from hypertension or among the 70 million suffering from high blood pressure or (higher-than-healthy blood pressure) it’s essential to know the impact of hypertension on your health, and to get started today on bringing your blood pressure levels down to healthy levels.

The force of blood is the force exerted by blood against the wall of the arteries. It fluctuates throughout the day. It falls during sleep or when you’re at ease increasing naturally in the morning and increasing in the short-term when stressed, anxious or working out. However, if your resting blood pressure is excessively, it may be a cause of damage, stiffening, or weakening blood vessels. This can increase the risk of having heart attacks; double your chances of suffering strokes; and increase your risk of suffering from heart failure , loss of vision and kidney issues as well as circulation issues like peripheral artery disease (which causes discomfort in your legs) as well as weakening your bones and lead to the erectile dysfunction of men.

Risk Factors and Causes

There is a chance that you are at a higher risk of developing hypertension if you smoke or are overweight, consume an unhealthy diet low in fiber and produce, or with a lot of salt and fat and drink excessively and are under stress for a long time or do not engage in a lot of exercise. Some causes of hypertension cannot be controlled–including your genes and your race (African-Americans are at a higher risk). The aging process also plays a factor. Even if it is not the case that you have hypertension at the age of 55-65 the risk of becoming a victim is 90 percent.

“But doctors are no longer able to believe that hypertension is unavoidable or inaccessible as we the advancing years,” says Samuel Durso, M.D., director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins.

In a Johns Hopkins study of 975 older women and men suffering from hypertension, healthy lifestyle choices have helped 40% of the participants stop taking blood pressure medication. Another study has demonstrated the benefits of lifestyle modifications to decrease the risk of hypertension among African-Americans as well as other groups with an increased risk genetically.


An active lifestyle is an effective defense against hypertension and its harmful consequences. These measures can decrease your risk, as well as to lower your risk in the event that you have hypertension or prehypertension.

You can lose a few pounds. Weight gain, especially the belly fat, which is stored in your abdomen, can increase blood pressure by increasing blood volume and also altering the balance of hormones that regulate pressure. “Even tiny weight loss can be a huge difference to hypertension reduction,” Durso notes, in reference to research which shows that the loss of only 7.7 pounds can reduce your risk of developing elevated blood pressure by 50%% or more.

Reduce your intake of alcohol. “Moderating alcohol is extremely important,” Durso says. “If you’re a man who drinks greater than 2 drinks in a day, or a woman who drinks at least one drink per day, reduce your intake.” While a small amount of alcohol can ease blood vessels, excessive amounts appear to cause the opposite.

Get moving more. Exercise and other types of physical activities aid in keeping arteries flexible. They also decrease the activity of the sympathetic nervous system , which can enlarge blood vessels and increase blood pressure. If you already suffer from hypertension, exercising regularly is enough to lower your numbers by between 8 and 10 points, as per the American Heart Association.

Keep your blood pressure in check. Calcium, magnesium as well as potassium (found in fat-free and low-fat dairy products such as yogurt and milk and also in dried beans and produce) assist your body in controlling blood pressure. A lack of them can cause a rise in the blood pressure. Also, high levels of sodium, which are found in a variety of processed foods–by causing your body to retain water (which increases the volume of blood) and also tightening the blood vessels that are small. The saturated fat (found in cheese, meat butter, butter, dairy products with full fat as well as many processed food items) can also increase blood pressure.

Stop smoking cigarettes. Smoking causes damage to arteries and increases the risk of developing heart disease. When you smoke cigarettes the tobacco products can raise blood pressure as well.

Relax and reduce tension. It’s unclear if the mind-body treatments have a long-lasting impact on blood pressure or lower the risk of developing it, but it’s known that stress-related hormones in the body produces hormones that temporarily increase blood pressure. You’ll feel more relaxed and will be able to make healthy lifestyle changes when you consistently practice techniques to relax your mind, such as breathing exercises, gradual relaxation, and exercises for fitness. One method, meditation is proven to decrease the risk of strokes and heart attacks in people who have hypertension.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to bring your blood pressure to a safe level, your physician is likely to recommend lifestyle changes, medication , or both. “The choice to start blood pressure medication — and the amount and type that your doctor prescribes will be based on the level of your blood pressure” Durso explains. “If you suffer from prehypertension or the blood pressure of your moderately elevated, lifestyle adjustments alone might be the first thing to consider. The loss of 5 or more of body fat, decreasing sodium, and modifying your diet and exercise routine is usually the result of lower blood pressure. In the event that your blood pressure remains elevated than normal, your physician will recommend these changes in conjunction with blood pressure medication.”

There are six main types of blood pressure medication:

Diuretics help the body get rid of excess sodium and water.
Beta blockers lower the heart rate and the output of blood. This lowers blood pressure.
Vasodilators, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and calcium-channel blockers all work by relaxing constricted blood vessels.

“Your doctor will recommend the medication that is right to you” Durso says. “Often doctors prescribe more than one drug to manage blood pressure. It is possible that you require medication that works on many different mechanisms to lower your blood pressure. Also, your physician may be able to recommend smaller doses of medication and lower the risk of adverse effects by combining three or two medication.”

Two things you need to be aware of about your treatment

Your doctor might increase the dose slowly. “It could take anywhere from a period of between a month and six weeks in order to lower your blood pressure by gradually increasing the doses of your medication,” Durso notes. “Lowering the blood pressure to rapidly could cause dizziness and increase the chance of falling.”

Report side effects. “Don’t stop taking medications by yourself,” warns Durso. “Call or schedule an appointment with your doctor about any adverse reactions that you may be experiencing. The doctor could be able make adjustments or change medications.” The side effects could include fatigue as well as cold feet or hands and depression, as well as impotence sleep issues or heartbeat irregularities, as well as dry cough.

Living with

The majority of people with high blood pressure experience no signs. It can be difficult to stay in line with healthier lifestyle choices and medications difficult. You may not even notice the change. These steps will aid you in maintaining the blood pressure you experience on a daily basis:

Make use of a reminder system for your medication. An everyday pill dispenser and pills that sound when it’s time to take the next dosage, or a note on your fridge–whichever reminding system is most effective for you. One in two patients with hypertension fail to adhere to the prescribed dosage which could increase your risk of stroke, heart disease and other health issues.

Monitor at home. “You can be the single most significant person on the blood pressure control team. A monitor for your blood pressure at home will let you know the extent to which your medication and lifestyle adjustments are working, and will help you maintain your health,” Durso says. “You can buy low-cost monitors at your local pharmacy.”

Consult your physician as suggested. “Your doctor might want to visit you at least every three or four months during the first couple of years following the diagnosis to make certain that your lifestyle and medication adjustments are effective and to adjust your lifestyle,” Durso says. “For those whose blood pressure is managed well and monitors it from home, an visit every six months could be adequate. In the event that your blood pressure falls within an acceptable range and you don’t require medication, you may only require a recheck once each two years.”

Check for highs and lows. Sometimes , blood pressure medication can decrease your blood pressure to a great extent. If you notice signs of low blood pressure, such as dizziness blurred vision, fainting, nausea, etc., you should consult your doctor. However If the diastolic (top) number is 180 or higher , or if you diastolic (bottom) number increases to 110 or more, seek immediately medical attention.


Johns Hopkins experts continue their work to understand and treat high blood pressure with a view to healthier health in the present. Research that is relevant and available includes the following findings:

Link established between taking blood pressure medicines and the risk of developing dementia. In a study conducted in 2013 of 3,000 elderly people released in Neurology, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that those who were taking diuretics ARBs as well as ACE inhibitors were 50 percent less at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease .

The intensive treatment reduces blood pressure among African-American males. Urban African-Americans are at an increased risk of untreated hypertension, which can have fatal consequences. In a five-year study of 309 African-American males aged between 21 and 55, Johns Hopkins researchers found that medications, appointments at home, and in appointment at the clinic decreased blood pressure in the study participants by a significant amount.
For Caregivers

If you’re the spouse or caregiver for someone who suffers from high blood pressure Here’s how you can assist.

Ask how you can help with medication. You could provide “time of medication” reminders and also help your loved one to take prescribed medications when they are they are required.

Encourage healthy endeavors. The encouragement of a new habit could encourage your loved one to keep it up. But trying to regulate the behavior could backfire. If you suspect that your loved one isn’t making positive changes, ask them how you can assist.

Make a commitment to being healthier Together. Couples who take on fitness and weight loss together could be more likely to stay with their goals. Making changes to your lifestyle with each other can be motivating and can lead to a healthier competition and can be comfortable, since you both consume the same meals and adhere to the same routine for exercise.


(veh-suls): Blood vessels (veh-suls) A system of flexible tubes –arteries capillaries, veins and veins that carry blood throughout the body. Oxygen and nutrients are transported via arteries to tiny thin-walled capillaries, which feed cells and take up waste materials, including carbon dioxide. Capillaries carry the waste into veins, which transport your blood to lungs and the heart in which carbon dioxide escapes by breathing as you exhale.

Dementia (di-men-sha) is a loss of brain function, which could be caused by a range of diseases that affect the brain. The symptoms include forgetfulness, impairment of thinking and judgement as well as personality changes, disturbance and loss of control. Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s Disease and insufficient cerebral blood circulation may cause dementia in a variety of ways. Many forms of dementia are irreversible.

Diastolic (die-uh-stah-lick) blood pressure: The second or bottom, number of the blood pressure reading. Diastolic blood pressure is a measure of the amount of blood flowing through the arteries during times when the heart is at ease between heart beats. A normal reading is less than 80 millimeters Hg. A higher reading could indicate that you suffer from elevated blood pressure, or that you are susceptible to developing it.

Heart failure is when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body requires, due to it is not fully filled or pumps with sufficient force. High blood pressure, diabetes heart disease, diabetes and valve issues can lead to heart failure. A heart failure does not necessarily indicate that the heart is close to stopping. The use of medications and lifestyle modifications can help ease symptoms.

Peripheral arterial disease (puh-rif-er-uhl ahrtah-ree dih zeez) The accumulation of cholesterol and fat that are known as plaque in the arteries of your arms, legs or head. It can also affect internal organs such as the head. This decreases blood flow which causes discomfort, numbness, and a intense, aching feeling when going up or down the stairs. Peripheral arterial disease may increase the risk of slow-healing diseases, too. Therapies for this include quitting smoking, and controlling cholesterol, blood pressure as well as blood sugar.

Saturated fat: A kind of fat that is abundantly found in butter full milks, frozen ice-cream full-fat cheese, fat poultry skin, meats, as well as coconut and palm oils. Saturated fat can raise the levels of dangerous for your heart LDL cholesterol that circulates through your bloodstream. It also affects the body’s ability to take in blood sugar quickly. The reduction of saturated fats can reduce the risk of getting heart disease.

Sympathetic nervous system: This is the part of the nervous system that triggers”fight or flight “fight or flee” reaction and prepares you for an emergency or stress. It is responsible for preparing the body for action, by raising speed of breathing, the heart rate, and alertness. The parasympathetic nervous system of the body is the reverse. It reduces breathing and heart rate, which creates feelings of relaxation.

Systolic (sis-tall-ick) blood pressure: The highest, or the first number on the reading of blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure that is felt in the arteries when a heartbeat occurs. Most people have the ideal systolic blood-pressure reading is lower than 120 mm Hg. A rise in systolic blood pressure could be a sign that arteries are getting stiff or that there’s been a accumulation of plaque.