High blood pressure is a chronic health condition that can greatly harm your health.
Research has shown that high blood pressure is a big risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Many factors can lead to high blood pressure, and here we list eight big causes of the health condition.
Kidney Fluid and Salt Balances
The kidneys are responsible for regulating the body’s salt balance by retaining sodium and water and excreting potassium.
Imbalances in the kidney function can expand blood volumes, which can cause high blood pressure.
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system makes angiotensin and aldosterone hormones.
Angiotensin narrows or constricts blood vessels, which can cause an increase in blood pressure.
Aldosterone controls how the kidneys balance fluid and salt levels. Too high aldosterone levels or activity may change this kidney function, causing increased blood volumes and high blood pressure.
Activity of Sympathetic Nervous System
The sympathetic nervous system has important regulation functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.
It is possible that imbalances in this system can cause high blood pressure.
Blood Vessel Structure and Function
Changes in the structure and function of small and large arteries may lead to high blood pressure.
The angiotensin pathway and the immune system may stiffen small and large arteries, which can affect blood pressure.
Much of the understanding of the body systems involved in high blood pressure has come from genetic studies. High blood pressure often runs in families.
Recent research has identified many genes and other mutations associated with high blood pressure, some in the renal salt regulatory and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathways.
However, these known genetic factors only account for 2 to 3 percent of all cases.
The latest research suggests that certain DNA changes during fetal development also may cause high blood pressure later in life.
Environmental risk factors of high blood pressure include unhealthy lifestyle habits, being overweight or obese, and medicines.
Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits
It is known that unhealthy lifestyle habits can cause high blood pressure, including eating high-sodium foods, drinking too much alcohol, and lack of physical activity.
Overweight and Obesity
Research has shown that being overweight or obese can increase the resistance in the blood vessels, making the heart to work harder and leading to high blood pressure.
Prescription medicines for asthma or hormone therapies, birth control pills and estrogen, and over-the-counter medicines such as cold relief may cause high blood pressure.
This happens because these medicines change the way your body controls fluid and salt balances, cause the blood vessels to constrict, or impact the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system leading to high blood pressure.
Other Medical Causes of High Blood Pressure
Other medical causes of high blood pressure include other medical conditions such as chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, or certain tumors.
This happens because these other conditions change the way your body controls fluids, sodium, and hormones in your blood, which leads to secondary high blood pressure.