Causes of hypertension

May is the month of Hypertension awareness at Health Abroad. It is estimated that 4 in 10 adults globally suffer from hypertension. Raising awareness to the disease is important to put the spotlight in the preventive measures that can be taken to lower these numbers.

According to UK’s National Health System (NHS), the cause of 90% of hypertension cases isn’t known and this is called primary hypertension. Only 10% of hypertension cases have known causes and it’s called secondary hypertension, meaning it is originated by other diseases or conditions.

Several factors can be responsible for the development of primary hypertension:

  • Age – hypertension risk increases with age
  • Hereditary – hypertension seems to be inherited from family members
  • Consume of daily excessive amounts of salt
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Smoking
  • Drink alcohol in excess.

Secondary hypertension, although less common, can be originated from several causes:

  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Narrowing the arteries supplying the kidneys
  • Hormonal conditions
  • Conditions like lupus
  • Use of oral contraceptive pill
  • Use of painkillers

As a reference for those who believe they might have high blood pressure, there are four different blood pressure levels:

  1. Normal: less than 120 over 80
  2. Prehypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
  3. Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
  4. Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above

When people reach levels of blood pressure above 120 over above 80, they should go see a doctor and start to treat and control the condition right away. While it can be a normal body response to increase blood pressure momentarily, increased continuous values of high blood pressure are indicative of a condition and not a body response.

If you would like to learn more about hypertension you can read our previous post that answers to 3 common questions about hypertension. Our next post will be about the World Hypertension Day and why this day is observed all over the world.



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