Common causes of high blood pressure

November 12, 2012

Common causes of high blood pressure

Blood pressure refers to the measurement of the force with which the blood is pushing against the walls of the blood vessels. High blood pressure can be serious and there are a number of things that it can be caused by.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure or hypertension means that the heart has to work harder in order to pump blood around the entire body. It also leads to the artery walls becoming hard and it additionally increases the likelihood of developing heart disease. A normal blood pressure reading is considered to be 120/80 or less. Pre-hypertension is the name given to a reading that is higher normal but has not yet reached the level considered to be hypertension and is a reading of 120-139/80-89. The first stage of hypertension is considered to be between 140-159/90-99 and the second level is when the reading reaches 160 and higher/ 100 and higher. Those, whose blood pressure reading is above normal, should have a check up with the doctor and be advised on methods for lowering their blood pressure.

Causes of high blood pressure

Although the direct causes of high blood pressure are rarely known, there are factors that are known to contribute to the development of the condition. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Smoking

  • Being overweight or obese

  • A lack of regular physical activity and exercise

  • A diet high in salt

  • Stress

  • Age

  • Genetics

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Disorders of the adrenal gland or thyroid

  • A family history of hypertension

Essential Hypertension

When an underlying cause of high blood pressure cannot be identified in spite of medical assessment, it is known as essential hypertension. 95% percent of people with hypertension in the US are diagnosed with this form of the condition. This type is most likely to run in families, most likely to affect men and the likelihood of developing it increases with age. It is also thought that lifestyle is one of the primary causes of high blood pressure with diet and physical activity having a heavy influence. Salt is considered to be one of the most significant causes of high blood pressure as it is very rare for individuals who have eliminated salt from their diets to develop the condition.

Secondary Hypertension

This is the label given for high blood pressure when the cause has been identified. The most common of the known causes of high blood pressure is kidney disease. Other causes of high blood pressure include tumours and abnormalities to the adrenal glands.


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