Causes of High Blood Pressure and How it is Investigated

Millions of individuals all over the globe have high blood pressure (otherwise known as hypertension) and for various reasons. It is very important that you know the risk factors and triggers, so that you can carry out the necessary precautions to keep your blood level at normal levels. You may notice several symptoms, depending on your condition and other underlying causes. Here are some more guidelines.

1. What Causes It?
First of all, you have to know the different categories of blood pressure. Normal blood pressure ranges below 120/80. Pre-hypertension ranges between 120/139 and 80/89. Stage 1 hypertension is between 140/159 and 90-99. Stage 2 hypertension is between 160 and above/100 and above. It is important that you consult your doctor immediately once you notice your blood pressure reaching over 120/80. The doctor will do some tests to determine the cause and other triggers.

High blood pressure can be caused by several things. Some of the causes can be attributed to lifestyle habits while others are due to family history or other health issues. Examples are:
– smoking
– being obese or overweight
– lack of exercise or physical activity
– genetics
– old age
– having too much salt in your diet
– consuming a lot of alcohol (1 to 2 drinks per day or more)
– having a family history of high blood pressure, adrenal and thyroid problems and long term kidney disease

2. About Essential Hypertension
About 95% of all hypertension cases in the United States have unknown underlying causes. This is then considered as essential hypertension. Essential hypertension is highly mysterious and is associated with several risk factors. The condition runs among families and is more frequent among men compared to women. Race and age seem to play a role in the development. In America, blacks are 2 times more likely to have the condition compared to Caucasians. The difference starts to get smaller at age 44. After 65 years of age, black women are highly at risk for hypertension.
Diet and lifestyle greatly affects essential hypertension. People residing in the northern islands of Japan consume more salt compared to any other individual in the world and so they have the highest incidence of the condition. There is no evidence of essential hypertension among people who do not add salt to their meals. Hypertensive people are usually salt sensitive. Other influencing factors include obesity, stress, inadequate consumption of calcium, potassium and magnesium, long term alcohol consumption and inadequate physical activity.

3. Increasing the Risk
The people who are more likely to have hypertension include people who frequently smoke, African-Americans, individuals with family background of hypertension, individuals taking birth control pills, pregnant women, those over 35 years old, sedentary individuals, those who eat fatty foods, people who have kidney disease and patients with tumours or abnormalities that influence the adrenal glands.
Doctors usually check the family background, diet and exercise habits of the person to determine the causes and triggers. The doctors will also check other medications and supplements that may trigger the condition. The blood pressure is checked via non-invasive or invasive means. Physical assessment may also be done to investigate further. Diagnosis will be done after the laboratory procedures.

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