Nowza great time to be alive

Hypertension - Causes and Risk Factors of High Blood Pressure

The typical image of a person with hypertension (high blood pressure) is an overweight, overworked male executive with a very short fuse. The truth is, high blood pressure affects people of all ages, races, social classes, sizes and shapes, women as well as mean and even children. Although great strides have been made in recent years to control this condition, often it still goes untreated or uncontrolled.

What causes Hypertension?
In some people, the system that regulates blood pressure goes awry: arterioles throughout the body stay constricted, driving up the pressure in the larger blood vessels. Sustained high blood pressure - above 140/90 mm Hg, according to most experts - is called hypertension. About 90 percent of all people with high blood pressure have "essential" hypertension - meaning that it has no identifiable cause. In the remaining 10 percent of cases, the elevated blood pressure is due to kidney disease, diabetes, or another underlying disorder.

Hypertension is known as the "silent killer" because it doesn't produce any symptoms - at least none that most people are aware of - until considerable damage has already been done. Untreated high blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes, which occur at a rate of a half a million a year in the United States. As a result of hypertension, the heart, because it has to work harder, may become enlarged and less efficient.

Risk factors you can't change
Certain unalterable conditions put you at greater risk for developing hypertension. If you fall into one of the following categories, you can avoid compounding your risk by making lifestyle changes.
Heredity
Those with a family history of hypertension are twice as likely to develop it as others. Many children of hypertensive parents have slightly elevated blood pressure even as infants.
Race
Hypertension is more common and generally more severe among blacks than among whites. For reasons not completely understood, blacks - especially males - tend to develop high blood pressure earlier in life, and much more often with fatal results.
Pregnancy
Hypertension is not related to a person's sex. However, during pregnancy, some women - even those who have never had high blood pressure - develop it.

Risk factors you can change
There's no guarantee that the dietary and lifestyle changes described below will prevent hypertension or lower elevated blood pressure. However, a reduction in risk factors for cardiovascular disease will occur.


Exercise
Exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system and reduces the risk of heart disease. Most experts recommend aerobic exercise for twenty to thirty minute at least three times a week.
Calcium
Some studies suggest that eating too little calcium may result in high blood pressure readings. Low fat dairy products and some leafy green vegetables are the best sources of calcium.
Magnesium
A magnesium deficiency may be linked to hypertension. Get your magnesium from foods such as low-fat dairy products and grains.
Potassium
An adequate potassium intake may help prevent or lower high blood pressure. A diet that contains grains, fruits, and vegetables will supply plenty of potassium since it is abundant in these foods.
Polyunsaturated fats
Replacing saturated fats in the diet with polyunsaturated fats may cause a reducing in blood pressure.
Relaxation techniques
Biofeedback, hypnosis, mediation, and other relaxation techniques may produce a modest, temporary reduction in blood pressure in some people.



Blood Pressure Monitors for the Home
Translating Blood Pressure Numbers
Self Monitoring Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure Monitoring at home
Blood Pressure Awareness - Information about Blood Pressure Awareness Month
Blood Pressure Monitoring at home

Automatic Blood  Pressure Monitors Compact Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors Manual Blood Pressure Monitors
Automatic Blood
Pressure Monitors
Wrist Blood
Pressure Monitors
Manual Blood
Pressure Monitors


The health and fitness materials provided on this Site (including links to information provided by other Web sites) are to be used for informational purposes only. The health and fitness materials are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional fitness and/or medical care.



Related Topics
Blood Pressure Monitors
Blood Pressure Numbers
Blood Pressure Facts
Monitoring at home
Blood Pressure Awareness
Blood Pressure Monitoring