The exact cause of hypertension is unknown. Although some of the risk factors cannot be controlled, such as age or family history, it’s important to know which factors you can control in order to take the necessary steps to lower your risk for high blood pressure.
Through discipline and lifestyle choices, here are five risk factors you can control:
- Being overweight or obese
The more you weigh, the more blood is needed to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues - which, in result, also increases the pressure on your artery walls. Lack of physical activity also increases your risk for high blood pressure.
High levels of stress can temporarily increase your blood pressure. Consistently putting yourself in a high-stress environment can increase your risk for hypertension.
- Too much salt or sodium in your diet
Salt causes your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
Smoking immediately raises blood pressure temporarily, and tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. For non-smokers, exposure to secondhand smoke can also be harmful.
- Too much alcohol
Having more than 1-2 drinks a day can affect your blood pressure, and heavy drinking over time can damage your heart. Moderation is key for healthy adults.