What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Up-to-date medical literature states that the cause of high blood pressure is only known in 5% of the cases while 95% is unknown. When I attended medical school, I learned that the cause of high blood pressure was known in only 10% of the cases whereas 90% was unknown. Now, other sources state that the exact cause of hypertension is unknown, but may be related to hereditary and environmental factors. Known causes lie in a very small field while the unknown continue in a vast ground. The known causes include:
• Individuals with chronic kidney disease
• Tumors in kidneys, adrenal glands, lungs or brain, secreting substances that affect blood pressure
• Lesions of the vascular system such as coarctation of the aorta, or vasculitis
• The use of oral contraceptive pills
• Some medications and toxins like cocaine, and amphetamines
• Obstructive sleep apnea
• Obstruction to the urinary tract
• Pregnancy- induced hypertension
• Conditions that destabilize calcium, potassium or magnesium levels
In addition, there are risk factors that lead individuals to hypertension, so it is reasonable to think that these are also identified causes of hypertension in individuals. These include:
• Being overweight or obese
• High levels of cholesterol
• Having excessive amounts of alcohol
• Putting too much salt on your meals
• Bad nutritional habits
• Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
In my professional opinion, while these are causes, though, considered as risk factors, the following are true risk factors. These include:
• Family history of hypertension
• Age – risk is increased as you age
• Race – studies show that black race is associated with a higher risk of developing hypertension
Although high blood pressure is by far more common in adults, a growing number of children are getting diagnosed with hypertension as a result of poor lifestyle habits; such as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.
While hypertension was first mentioned as a disease in the early 1800; it is a modern malady with very well-known causes created by the feedback of this society. Currently, more than a billion individuals suffer from hypertension worldwide. However, don't be discouraged, you can reverse or control the condition by taking care of your blood pressure. Treatment of hypertension includes dietary changes, medications, and exercise.
This information serves as a guide to prevent the progressive rise in blood pressure and its complications, nevertheless is the physician responsibility to diagnose the condition.
By Esmeralda Franco / Mansilla MD