What causes high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries , which carry the blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries, and to the development of heart failure.

What Is "Normal" Blood Pressure?

A blood pressure reading has a top number (systolic) and bottom number (diastolic):

  • Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
  • Hypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above
  • High blood pressure in people over age 60: 150 and above over 90 and above

People whose blood pressure is above the normal range should consult their doctor about steps to take to lower it.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, but several factors and conditions may play a role in its development:
  •     Smoking
  •     Being overweight
  •     Lack of physical activity
  •     Too much salt in the diet
  •     Too much alcohol consumption
  •     Stress
  •     Older age
  •     Genetics
  •     Family history of high blood pressure
  •     Chronic kidney disease
  •     Adrenal and thyroid disorders

High blood pressure tends to run in families and is more likely to affect men than women. Age and race also play a role.
Try these strategies to reduce the risk of high blood pressure:

Go For Walk:

Hypertensive patients who went for fitness walks lowered pressure. Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn't work as hard to pump blood.

Breath Deeply:

Slow breathing yoga decrease stress hormones, a kidney enzyme that raises blood pressure. Try 5 minutes in the morning and at night. Inhale deeply and expand your belly. Exhale and release all of your tension.

Take Dark Chocolate:

Dark chocolate varieties contain flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic. 18% of patients who ate it every day saw blood pressure decrease. Have ½ ounce daily (make sure it contains at least 70% cocoa).

Take Tea:

Lowering high blood pressure is as easy as one, two, cup of tea.

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