Causes of High Blood Pressure - Lifestyle, Smoking, Food

Signs of High BP

The causes of high blood pressure or hypertension as it is sometimes called are extensive. More often than not it is a combination of bad habits and lifestyle rather than a single element which eventually leads to the onset of hypertension.

In most cases it is not possible to isolate the exact causes which are responsible for elevated blood pressure levels. High blood pressure that cannot be linked to a distinct cause is commonly referred to as primary hypertension. Risk factors which have been known to increase the likelihood of primary hypertension are obesity, a poor diet, excess sodium, smoking, stress and alcohol to name but a few.

Conversely, high blood pressure that has one or more definite causes is known as secondary hypertension. Secondary causes of hypertension include pregnancy, aortic narrowing, specific drugs, increased blood thickness and various kidney and glandular diseases.

Signs of High Blood Pressure

Signs of high BP are frequently observed in individuals who are overweight or obese. The more overweight a person is, the more likely it is that he or she will suffer from high blood pressure. In addition, obese individuals are also far more likely to suffer from heart conditions which can be aggravated by elevated blood pressure levels. Eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are two sure fire ways to ensure the retention of healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as prevent the onset of hypertension.

Maintaining a healthy sodium chloride or salt level plays a vital role in the effective functioning of the human body. Too much sodium on the other hand can wreak havoc on the body's systems and ultimately aggravate the onset of hypertension. Experts agree that an amount of half to one and a half teaspoons of salt per day is more than sufficient, yet research suggests that most individuals consume two to four times more than this on a daily basis. Checking sodium levels in foods, condiments and medications so as to reduce overall salt intake is highly recommended for those individuals working on lowering blood pressure levels.

Natural Remedies For High Blood Pressure

Smoking and Alcohol are two of the more well known culprits behind raised blood pressure levels. In addition to increasing the pulse rate, smoking also causes arterial wall hardening as well as an increase in diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Whilst moderate consumption of alcohol may in fact be beneficial in the prevention of arterial and heart disease, heavy drinking will have the opposite effect. Excessive amounts of alcohol in the bloodstream lead to the heightening of tension in the walls of the arteries, thereby increasing blood pressure levels. Moderate drinking is classed as no more than one unit of alcohol a day for women and two units a day for men, an amount which very few individuals ever stick to.

Just as aspects such as obesity, salt, smoking and alcohol have been known to effect blood pressure levels, so too has stress. Research involving high BP over extended periods of time has indicated that stress undoubtedly plays a role in the increase of blood pressure levels. Among other things, stress leads to the over stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system thereby causing a rise in blood pressure levels as well as the narrowing of the artery walls. Effective stress management is therefore an essential step in the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

Other less common causes of hypertension which individuals should remain aware of include age, excessive consumption of liquorice root extract, oral contraceptives, the intake of large amounts of caffeine, low potassium diets and a family history of hypertension and strokes.

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