What Causes High Blood Pressure - Causes of Hypertension

Covering what causes high blood pressure in women, in men, in children, in pregnancy and spikes

What causes high blood pressure is a frequently asked question by millions of people who also wish to understand the symptoms of hypertension. Hypertension or high blood pressure is simply understood as the force of flowing blood pressure pushing against the blood vessel walls. These could be arteries and main veins within the body. It therefore follows that knowing the cause of high blood pressure in a patient is critical to hypertension treatment and management. Ignored or left unchecked high blood pressure can easily cross the line into malignant hypertension notorious for severe organ damage that might even lead to death. In some cases before hypertension becomes accelerated hypertension is would have been benign hypertension for a considerable period of time.

To many patients it comes as a complete shock that in 90 to 95% of cases of hypertension what causes high blood pressure is unknown. Surprisingly causes of low blood pressure are better known and understood than those of high blood pressure. Medical science has since divided hypertension into two categories in as far as its causes is concerned; essential hypertension and secondary hypertension. Essential high blood pressure is when the cause is unknown. Secondary hypertension is when the high blood pressure can be ascribed to a secondary factor which acts as a catalyst to the condition. Doctors arrive at these distinctions after carrying out a diagnosis involving repeated blood pressure measurement using accurate and approved blood pressure equipment such as the Omron blood pressure monitors.

Secondary hypertension causes would include kidney abnormalities which might involve a tumor growing on the adrenal gland atop the kidneys. Narrowing of certain arteries for whatever reason may result in hypertension. This also is a secondary cause of hypertension. Diabetes is also a possible cause of high blood pressure including structured abnormality of the aorta (the largest artery that carries blood from the left ventricle of the heart to branch arteries). Pregnancy is also a cause of high blood pressure in some women. This can be temporary, that is, for the duration of the pregnancy or the start of a long term chronic disease.What causes high blood pressure in pregnancy is discussed further down in this article.

high blood pressure and obesityCauses high blood pressure in its secondary form is also obesity. As a person's weight increases, demand is added to the heart's ability to pump blood around the body because the amount of blood circulating in the body increases. Excess weight has long been associated with increased heart rate which puts pressure on the blood veins. A hypertension diet such as DASH may also help in reducing weight in an obese patient.

The use of certain medications may also cause hypertension. This would include antidepressant medications as well as organ transplant drugs. It is for this reason that even hypertension medications are carefully and extensively researched to ensure they themselves to do deliberately lead to elevated blood pressure one way or the other. High blood pressure medications may also cause low blood pressure especially in the form of low diastolic blood pressure in some patients apart from well known high blood pressure medication side effects. When a person doesn't sleep well resulting in poor breathing and snoring this may result in the damaging of the lining of artery walls due to lack of adequate oxygen and may contribute to high blood pressure.

The following is a summary list of secondary high blood pressure causes;

  • Kidney abnormalities
  • Narrowed arteries
  • Diabetes complications
  • Over weight and Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Use of certain medications
  • Sleep apnea

Since essential high blood pressure currently can not be pinned down to an exact cause in 90 to 95% of cases medical research has strongly associated hypertension with the following important factors as possible answers to what causes high blood pressure. Medical research is however still continuing in its attempt to find a definite cause of essential hypertension on a case by case basis.

  • Family History - individuals from a family tree with a history of hypertension have tended to also develop essential hypertension.
  • Advanced Age - this has an effect on blood vessels. This creates a condition in the body conducive to the development of hypertension. Statistically from age 65 onwards more women has high blood pressure than men
  • Gender - doctors have observed a risk pattern in hypertension related to gender. A greater number of men than women have a risk of high blood pressure before the age of 45. Moving forward from 45 years to 54 years and from 55 to 64 years the figures are at par between men and women. After the age of 65 more women are at risk of hypertension than men.
  • Poor diet - There is a direct link between salt and high blood pressure. Salt keeps excess fluid in the body which has the ultimate effect of burdening the heart. Eating healthy by ensuring a diet of high nutritional value is beneficial in treating and avoiding hypertension
  • Too much alcoholic drinks and smoking - have a role to play in causing essential high blood pressure. Ultimately drinking may even result in heart failure. Adults are ought not to drink more than 1 to 2 drinks for men and 1 drink per day for women. Second hand smoke from tobacco cigarettes also plays a role in hypertension.
  • High fat diet - has also been linked to high blood pressure. Dietitians have made it clear that it's not so much about how much fat but what type of fact one consumes. Some fats are harmful such as saturated fats found in fast-foods and common animal fats. Yet others are in actual fact healthy and good such as vegetable and plant fats which would include avocado oil, olive oil and others. Omega fats such as from fish are also good.

What causes high blood pressure in children

what causes high blood pressure in childrenHigh blood pressure in children is difficult to diagnose because the blood pressure of children in constantly changing as they are growing. Not only children can develop hypertension even young babies are also at risk of high blood pressure. What causes high blood pressure amongst children younger than 10 years old is often some secondary factors noted above such as overweight and obesity and outright lack of exercise. This problem is actually epidemic in children in western societies especially the United States simply because of a very poor diet rich in salt and carbonated drinks such as sodas. Yet some children may develop high blood pressure for other underlying conditions that must be medically isolated and diagnosed.

What causes high blood pressure in children may also be to do with both parents having the disease in the first place. This is consistent with essential hypertension being associated with family history as well as genetics.

What causes high blood pressure spikes

Blood pressure spikes do cause a lot of panic amongst many people especially those without information as to their causes and also those who would have just started tracking their blood pressure on a regular basis. A few number of people statistically have what is known as labile hypertension which essentially refers to intermittent spikes in blood pressure to fairly high levels. These spikes are caused in general by emotional circumstances which might include stress, anxiety or some psychological issues.

In fact as a result of blood pressure spikes, doctors do measure blood pressure more than once in order to conclude a diagnosis of hypertension. This would usually occur over a period of time even weeks to ensure such factors causing spikes do not get in the way of a diagnosis. What causes high blood pressure spikes when someone is visiting a doctor could just be nervousness. This is known as white coat hypertension. The intake of food and alcohol or even smoking results in blood pressure spikes. There us debate around caffeine and hypertension which may contribute to higher blood pressure readings.

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