What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?
Controllable factors contribute to high blood pressure include sodium (salt) sensitivity, obesity and overweight, heavy alcohol consumption, use of oral contraceptives and some other medications, and sedentary or inactive lifestyle. Uncontrollable risk factors for high blood pressure include age, heredity, and race. In men, high blood pressure occurs most often between 35 and 50 years of age. In women, it generally starts after menopause. An individual is more likely to develop high blood pressure if his or her parents or close relatives have it.
Being overweight or using excessive salt are two avoidable factors. About one-third of patients with high blood pressure are overweight. Even moderately obese adults have double the risk of hypertension than people with normal weights. In fact, the increase in blood pressure in aging Americans may be due primarily to weight gain. Thin people with hypertension are at higher risk for heart attacks and stroke than obese people with high blood pressure. People with hypertension are likely to have conditions such as an enlarged heart or stiff arteries that cause the high blood pressure and also pose greater dangers to health.
Age is one risk factor that can't be changed. In both men and women, the risk for high blood pressure increases as one ages. More men than women have hypertension until age 55, After that the ratio reverses, and over time women gain on men and finally overtake them. In all, mortality rates from hypertension are higher in women than in men. Generally speaking, hypertension is more common in middle age and the elderly, but children can also have elevated blood pressure. Generally, the older people get, the more likely they are to develop high blood pressure.
Heredity is another factor. People whose parents have high blood pressure are more likely to develop it than those whose parents don't. African Americans are also more likely to have high blood pressure than whites.
While the incidence of high blood pressure isn't directly related to a person's sex, hypertension is more common in men. Women may be more prone to hypertension blood pressure during pregnancy or when she is taking oral contraceptives. Some women who have never had high blood pressure develop it during pregnancy. Similarly, a woman taking oral contraceptives are more likely to develop high blood pressure if she's overweight, has had high blood pressure during pregnancy, has a family history of high blood pressure or has mild kidney disease.
Some medications also can raise blood pressure and/or interfere with the effectiveness of antihypertensive drugs. If you have high blood pressure, you should tell your doctor all of the prescribed and over-the-counter medicines you are taking. Drugs as steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), nasal decongestants and other cold remedies, appetite suppressants (diet pills), cyclosporine, erythropoetin, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors are often associated with hypertension.
More information on high blood pressure
What is blood pressure? - Blood pressure or arterial blood pressure is the pressure (force per unit area) exerted by the blood on the walls of the blood vessels.
What is high blood pressure (hypertension)? - High blood pressure or hypertension means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. High blood pressure is generally defined as a level exceeding 140/90 mm Hg that has been confirmed on multiple occasions.
How to measure blood pressure? - Arterial blood pressure is usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) using a sphygmomanometer.
What causes high blood pressure? - High blood pressure is far more common in families where other members have this condition. There are also many other factors which are related to high blood pressure.
At what level is blood pressure too high? - Blood pressure is generally felt to be abnormally high at a level of 140/90, and some sort of definitive therapy and follow-up should be started at this level.
What is "white coat syndrome"? - "White coat syndrome" is a situation where patients have high blood pressure in the doctor's office but nowhere else.
What're the symptoms of high blood pressure? - High blood pressure usually causes no symptoms. Sometimes people with high blood pressure have symptoms including headache, dizziness, blurred vision and nausea.
How is high blood pressure diagnosed? - The diagnosis of high blood pressure is made on the basis of many blood pressure readings. It is diagnosed if several readings show a systolic blood pressure greater than 140 or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 90.
What is isolated systolic hypertension? - Isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) is defined as elevated systolic blood pressure in conjunction with normal diastolic blood pressure (<90 mm Hg).
Why and how isolated systolic hypertension (ISH ) develops? - Factors that may play a role in the high prevalence of ISH seen in Western societies include increased body fat, sedentary lifestyle, and increased sodium intake.
What is white coat hypertension? - White coat hypertension should be considered when blood pressure readings are significantly elevated in the absence of target-organ damage.
What is borderline hypertension? - Borderline hypertension is a blood pressure level which is in the 'gray zone' between normal and high (for example, someone with an average pressure of about 140/90 mmHg).
What is malignant hypertension (arteriolar nephrosclerosis)? - Malignant hypertension is an acute emergency requiring immediate treatment in hospital.
What is labile hypertension? - 'Labile' means variable, and just about everyone with hypertension has 'lablie hypertension.'
What is pulmonary hypertension? - Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation (the arteries which go to the lungs). The blood pressure in the arms and the rest of the body is normal or low.
What is renovascular hypertension? - Renovascular hypertension is a secondary form of high blood pressure caused by a narrowing of the renal artery.
What're the risk factors for high blood pressure? - Controllable factors contribute to high blood pressure include sodium (salt) sensitivity, obesity and overweight, heavy alcohol consumption, use of oral contraceptives and some other medications, and sedentary or inactive lifestyle.
What're the complications of high blood pressure? - Blood vessels can narrow due to high blood pressure and the accumulation of cholesterol. Blockage of arteries in the brain can lead to stroke. Blockage of blood vessels in the kidneys can lead to kidney failure.
How does body weight affect hypertension? - Studies have shown that body weight, changes in body weight over time, and skinfold thickness are related to changes in blood pressure levels.
What're the treatment options for high blood pressure? - The goal of treatment is to reduce blood pressure to a level where there is decreased risk of complications. Treatment may occur at home with close supervision by the health care provider, or may occur in the hospital.
What medications are available for high blood pressure? - Medications may include diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or alpha blockers.
Which lifestyle modifications are beneficial in treating hypertension? - Lifestyle modifications refer to certain specific recommendations for changes in diet and exercise.
What is a good high blood pressure diet? - A good high blood pressure diet is not only rich in important nutrients and fiber but also includes foods that contain far more electrolytes, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, than are found in the average American diet.