High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common but dangerous ailment that affects many adults. While there is no specific identifiable cause for many people with high blood pressure, there are certain risk factors that can make the blood pressure go up.
Hypertension may be a sign that the kidneys are not functioning as they should. This is why many patients with high blood pressure are tested for potential kidney problems.
High cholesterol lines the walls of the arteries, narrowing the amount of space blood can flow through. This narrowing of the arteries can in turn raise the blood pressure. Anyone who has hypertension should be checked for high cholesterol as well.
A variety of over the counter and prescription drugs have the potential to cause hypertension, including decongestants, birth control pills and over the counter pain relievers. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before taking any new medication.
Periods of high stress and anxiety can cause a dramatic increase in blood pressure. For this reason, certain people get a higher blood pressure reading at the doctor's office than they do at home, in a more relaxed situation.
Chemicals that speed up the body, known as stimulants, can increase blood pressure. Nicotine and caffeine cause a short-term increase in blood pressure, and illegal drugs like cocaine and amphetamines can sometimes raise it to a dangerous extent.
Aside from the temporary stimulant effect of nicotine, tobacco also raises blood pressure by narrowing the arteries. Even second hand smoke from cigarettes is known to make blood pressure go up.
A diet high in sodium contributes to many cases of hypertension, by causing the body to retain fluids. Many patients with high blood pressure are able to keep it under control by following a low sodium diet.
Low Vitamin D
While it is still uncertain, Vitamin D may affect an enzyme produced by the kidneys, which can have an effect on blood pressure.
Being overweight or obese can have a definite effect on the blood pressure. The more a person weighs, the more blood they need circulating to supply all the body parts with oxygen and nutrients. Excess blood volume increases the pressure on arteries, making blood pressure go up.
Lack of exercise
Regardless of weight, there is a strong correlation between exercise and blood pressure. Regular cardio exercise lowers the resting heart rate and decreases the amount of force the heart needs to pump with. If you have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about starting an exercise plan to lower your blood pressure.
Untreated high blood pressure is dangerous, and only your doctor can tell you for sure what you can do to lower it. Those with hypertension should continue to see your doctor regularly, and take medications as prescribed.