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The Most Common Risk Factors Associated with High Blood Pressure

May 26, 2017
High blood pressure is a very common affliction among the American population.  In fact, it is estimated that one in four adults suffer from hypertension, putting them at an increased risk of complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and eye problems.  In May, awareness of the dangers associated with high blood pressure, as well as education surrounding prevention measures, ramps up for National High Blood Pressure Education Month.  But, whether you are reading this in May or any other month of the year, the following information regarding risk factors for developing hypertension are of critical importance.

Family History Risk for High Blood Pressure

Genetics plays a huge role in our health and propensity for developing many conditions, including high blood pressure.  As is often the case, having a close relative with the disease means that you have a higher likelihood of developing it as well.  However, it is important to note that it is possible to overcome heredity.  In many cases, high blood pressure can be avoided through healthy lifestyle choices, despite family history.

Obesity and Developing High Blood Pressure

Extra pounds can put a lot of strain on your body and your health.  When your weight increases, so too must your blood volume in order to adequately supply oxygen to all of the body’s tissues.  As the amount of blood passing through the arteries increases, so does the amount of pressure. 

Diet and Lifestyle Impact Blood Pressure

You’ve likely heard all the don’ts before.  Don’t overindulge in salt.  Avoid tobacco, and don’t drink too much alcohol.  Of course, this advice comes from the correlation of each of these vices with some major health concerns, including high blood pressure.  However, there are a few dos that you may be missing out on as well.  Just as too much of those things can be bad, so can too little of others such as potassium and vitamin D. Striking a balance between them all is key to maximizing health.

Age and Race Factors for High Blood Pressure

The reasons may not always be clear but some conditions are simply more prevalent in certain races, age groups or genders, and high blood pressure is no exception.  If you are of African American descent, you are at an increased risk. This is also the case for middle-aged men and women over the age of 65.  Of course, if you also have any of the other, previously mentioned factors as well, your risk is particularly high compared to the average population, making diligence in blood pressure monitoring even more important.

Major health concerns often begin from controllable or predictable risk factors.  If you know that you have a factor that places you in an increased risk category, take the proper precautions to safeguard your well-being.  Make every effort to live a healthy lifestyle, educate yourself regarding your family history, and maintain recommended screenings and doctor’s appointments.  Doing so will leave you with the confidence that you are actively safeguarding yourself from future health problems and protecting your future.