Twelve Risk Factors For Hypertension

Are you at risk for hypertension? Check your risk factors!

Hypertension is a serious national health problem, and you may have risk factors. If you do, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing hypertension.  Although some risk factors, like family history, can't be modified, you can work on reducing those risk factors over which you do have control.

Your Biological Sex


Women typically develop hypertension after age 65, but it's more common in men through early middle age.

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Race Is A Significant Risk Factor for Hypertension


People of African origin are more likely to develop hypertension at a younger age than Caucasian people, and black people are also at greater risk of developing of serious complications of hypertension, including things like stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure.

Your Family History Influences Your Risk of Hypertension

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If high blood pressure runs in your family, you are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure as you age. 

What's Your BMI? (Body Mass Index)

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If your BMI is over 25, then you are overweight. A BMI of 30 is considered obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for hypertension! Here's why: when you weigh more, you require more blood flow to bring oxygen and other nutrients to the tissues in your body. Your blood volume will increase, and this puts pressure on the walls of the arteries, increasing your blood pressure and your risk of complications from hypertension. 

Exercise: Blood Pressure Control is Only One of Many Beneficial Effects!

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As you become more active, your heart muscle will become more efficient. That means it pumps blood so well that it doesn't  need to pump very often, while inactive people usually have a more rapid heart rate and their hearts must work harder to pump blood. This causes increased force and higher pressure on the arteries, increasing your blood pressure. If you aren't very active, you may also be overweight, which is a separate risk factor for hypertension.

Cigarette Smoking and Second Hand Smoke Increase Risk

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Cigarette smoke and chewing tobacco both have chemicals that cause your blood pressure to rise immediately after using. These tobacco products also contain chemicals that narrow your arteries, increasing the blood pressure within the arteries. Second hand smoke has also been shown to have the same effect! 

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Put Away Your Salt Shaker!

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Although you don't have to ban salt entirely, you should be aware of the salt in your diet - both the salt that you add and the salt in processed foods. Salt causes the kidneys to retain water, which results in higher blood pressure. Too much salt is a risk factor for the development of hypertension. The federal government recommends 1500 mg of salt per day. 

Are You Getting Enough Potassium in Your Diet?

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Potassium and sodium are two elements that the kidneys keep in balance, and when you don't have enough potassium, you may end up with too much sodium (salt) in your blood, causing high blood pressure. Potassium containing foods include baked potatoes, beet greens, halibut, and yogurt. 

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Alcohol Is Linked To Hypertension

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Alcohol has a host of health consequences, and excessive alcohol use is a major risk factor for development of hypertension. The CDC recommends that women limit their alcohol consumption to less than seven drinks weekly, and men should limit consumption to less than fourteen drinks each week. 

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Reduce Stress to Reduce Your Risk


 Temporary increases in blood pressure result from high levels of stress, and when you attempt to relax using drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, this may further increase your risk of developing hypertension. Conversely, developing healthy coping habits like exercise can result in reduction of your risk of hypertension.

Vitamin D Deficiency May Drive Blood Pressure Elevation

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According to a study published in 2014, it appears that low levels of Vitamin D are linked to high blood pressure. Vitamin D is produced in the body when it is exposed to sunlight. You can increase your body's stores of vitamin D by eating yoghurt, cereal, tuna, salmon, eggs, milk, and orange juice.

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Chronic Illnesses May Increase Your Hypertension Risk

 Chronic illness may affect your risk of development of high blood pressure. Two conditions known to result in an increased risk of hypertension are obstructive sleep apnea and kidney disease. If you have a chronic illness, ask your doctor for help in management of your blood pressure problems associated with that illness.

You May Have Risk Factors For Hypertension You Can Modify

Risk factors for hypertension include those that can be modified and those that can't be changed. If you have risk factors that you can eliminate, this will reduce your chance of suffering with hypertension and the serious related complications that can result. Check this list today to see if you have any modifiable risk factors.

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