WELLBEING

Sunday, July 07

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Many people think blood pressure only affects adult but in fact it also affects babies, young children, and teenagers too. Around 1 in 25 teenagers have high blood pressure. In babies, it's usually caused by prematurity or problems with the kidneys or heart. Many kids and teens with high blood pressure have no other health problems but do have a family history of hypertension and an unhealthy lifestyle, a bad diet, excess weight, stress, and too little physical activity.

The cause of high blood pressure is still unknown, however doctors have found several factors and conditions that they believe have something to with it. Here is a list of some factors:

  • Smoking - Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure.
  • Being overweight or obese - As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls.
  • Lack of physical activity - People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction and the stronger the force on your arteries.
  • Too much salt in the diet - Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
  • Too much alcohol consumption - Having more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect your blood pressure.
  • Stress - High levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure.
  • Older age - The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age..
  • Genetics – There’s a higher risk if you have a family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders

Some people have high blood pressure which is caused by an underlying condition called secondary hypertension. This type of high blood pressure appears suddenly and causes higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension. Although primary hypertension is somewhat mysterious, it has been linked to certain risk factors. High blood pressure tends to run in families and is more likely to affect men than women. Age and race also play a role.

Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including:

  • Certain defects in blood vessels you're born with (congenital)
  • Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
  • Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines

Remember to protect yourself and your family with health insurance to ensure quick, swift and reliable health care in Nigeria.