What Causes Hypertension:A Detailed Study!
In spite of being one of the most predominant names featured amongst the so-called lifestyle diseases, high blood pressure or hypertension still carries a lot of confusion around it. Its symptoms are not easily noticeable, its effects are still not fully understood and its causes are still relatively unknown.
However, since it’s known as a lifestyle disease, some of the causes of hypertension can be traced to living and eating habits. But these are not the only factors contributing to hypertension. Through this article, we’ll try and shed light on some of the most recognized and known causes of hypertension and study them in detail.
One must understand that high blood pressure or hypertension develops gradually, over a period of time.
Certain Factors That Can Increase The Risk Of Developing High BP Would Include:
- Unhealthy Diet Intake With Foods High On Sodium And Low On Potassium – Ours is essentially a land of spices and salt. It is undoubtedly the most basic ingredient in all our dishes except for sweets of course. However, salt is also a huge contributor to hypertension. Excessive salt intake above the permissible limit of 1500 mg has drastic effects on spiking your blood pressure, eventually causing hypertension.
- Smoking/Passive Smoking – Cigarettes contain nicotine which narrows your arteries and raises your blood pressure, leading to more serious issues like a stroke or heart attack. Once detected with hypertension, its imperative that you quit smoking.Cigarettes contain nicotine which narrows your arteries and raises your blood pressure, leading to more serious issues like a stroke or heart attack. Once detected with hypertension, its imperative that you quit smoking.
- Chewing Tobacco – Just like smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco can immediately spike up your blood pressure temporarily. In fact, since you are practically consuming this harmful substance, its effects are even more far-reaching than smoking. The chemicals present in tobacco damage the inner walls of your arteries, further narrowing them down. This can increase your blood pressure considerably, eventually causing hypertension.
- Consuming Alcohol – Moderate alcohol intake is still considered to be good for health. However, consuming more than 60 ml of alcohol on a regular basis puts a heavy strain on your heart and blood pressure. Not to forget the fact that alcohol contains calories that contribute to weight gain and obesity as well.
- High Cholesterol – A rise in cholesterol levels invariably forms deposits of fat inside your blood vessels, further narrowing them down. The blood then has to be exerted with more pressure to pass through eventually causing hypertension. There’s a more serious consequence of the vessels getting completely blocked, which could lead to a heart attack.
- Being Overweight – Excess weight essentially means more blood needs to be circulated for supplying oxygen and other nutrients to your body. Furthermore, being overweight leads to increased buildup of fat in your arteries. Both these factors force the blood to exert more pressure to pass through arterial walls, causing a steep rise in the blood pressure levels. Excess weight is the first thing that you’d be advised to lose if diagnosed with hypertension.
- Family History Of High BP – Now this is probably the only factor that differs from the other causes of hypertension. In the sense that, this is really not in your control. Hypertension does get transferred through genes and generations. It’s therefore essential to be aware of all the hereditary health issues that exist in your family. There are chances that the disease might skip generations, but it’s always better to be prepared through regular health check-ups and blood pressure measurements.
- Diabetes – Diabetes and hypertension almost go hand-in-hand when it comes to causes and risks involved. It’s often considered that hypertension is a given for people with diabetes. When the insulin in your body cannot process the glucose received from food, it gets accumulated in your blood vessels, thus increasing the blood pressure and eventually causing hypertension. Due to their close correlation, both these lifestyle diseases have a high chance of occurring together or in sequence.
- Absence Of Daily Exercise Regimen – A basic amount of exercise is necessary for regular blood circulation and bodily functions. Nowadays, however, sedentary lifestyles with the lack of physical activity and erratic eating habits have all led to lesser number of people exercising and more of them gaining excess weight. This, coupled with increasing stress levels has been a major contributor to rising cases of hypertension amongst young urban professionals.
- Other Disorders And Medications – This is another factor that’s not related to lifestyle habits. There’s a type called ‘Secondary Hypertension’ which is essentially caused by other medical conditions like sleep apnea, polycystic kidney disease, thyroid issues, glomerular disease and problems in the adrenal glands amongst other issues. Pregnancy is another situation that is characterised by secondary hypertension. Lastly, there are certain medications like antidepressants, supplements, birth control pills, etc. that might induce a rise in blood pressure as well.
It’s pretty evident from the above list that barring a couple of causes, the answer to what causes hypertension lies in your choices. Irrespective of being diagnosed or not, the wise thing to do is to relook at the way you are leading your life and take the necessary measures to avoid hypertension.
This approach also involves understanding the warning signs of high BP. Depending on the severity and duration of the blood pressure, you need to watch out for hypertension symptoms like:
- Severe Headaches
- Chest Pains
- Difficulty While Breathing
- Irregular Heartbeats
- Memory Loss & Confusion
- Blood In Urine
- Pounding In The Ears, Neck Or Chest
High BP or hypertension was earlier considered to be a typically middle-age condition. The scenario, however, is rapidly changing, with people as young as 25 years getting affected. The condition has its presence across genders, professions and demographics. It’s, therefore, become highly essential to take hypertension seriously and study its causes, types, symptoms and treatments in detail.
Note of caution: This article is for information purpose only. Always consult your doctor before altering any diet plans, medications or in case of any other blood pressure-related troubles.