Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition that affects about one in every three Americans. It’s also the most common chronic disease in the U.S., according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This means that there are many people who have hypertension but don’t know it yet.
In addition to being common, high blood pressure can be serious. If not treated properly, it can lead to heart attack and stroke—the two leading causes of death in America. Fortunately, with proper treatment and lifestyle changes you can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and its complications.
It is important to note that hypertension is more common in people over the age of 65. Hypertension is also more common in people over the age of 75. Hypertension is more common in men than women and African-Americans than Caucasians.
The gender of the person affects their risk of developing high blood pressure. Hypertension is more common in men than women, with nearly 50% of men over 65 years old having the condition. However, women are more likely to have high blood pressure than men.
Women have a higher risk for developing high blood pressure when they’re pregnant and during menopause—and these periods are also when most women take birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy (ERT).
Stress can be a risk factor for hypertension. Stress can cause physical reactions in the body, like increased blood pressure and heart rate, which can increase your risk of developing hypertension.
Excess weight and obesity
Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for high blood pressure. This can lead to other health problems, such as heart disease and stroke. If you are overweight or obese, losing even a little weight may lower your blood pressure.
Other factors that may contribute to hypertension include age (the older you are and the more years you have had hypertension), family history of hypertension and certain genetic conditions.
A genetic predisposition to hypertension is more common in some families than others. If your mother or father had high blood pressure, you have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure yourself.
Diabetes or pre-diabetes
If you have or are at risk of diabetes, it is important to control your blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke.
- Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses glucose (a type of sugar). A person has diabetes when their blood sugar level is too high because their body cannot use insulin properly. This causes other problems with the way their bodies work.
- Pre-diabetes is diagnosed when a person’s fasting plasma glucose level is above 100 mg/dl but not high enough to be called diabetes. If someone has pre-diabetes, they have an increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes over time if left untreated.
Kidney disease is a risk factor for high blood pressure. It can be caused by other conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Medications that may cause kidney disease include some antibiotics and antihistamines as well as antidepressants like amitriptyline (Elavil).
According to the American Heart Association, you should:
- Limit alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. The heart association defines a drink as 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof hard liquor. It also advises against drinking on an empty stomach and mixing alcohol with caffeine or other drugs.
- Drink slowly. If you have high blood pressure, even one drink can raise your blood pressure temporarily (hypertension). And if you already have hypertension, drinking more than one alcoholic beverage at a time can raise your blood pressure even higher than it would normally be when not drinking any alcohol at all (hypertension).
There are several, but there are ways to reduce the risk.
- Eat a healthy diet and get enough exercise.
- Quit smoking and manage stress.
- Get enough sleep, and take your medications as prescribed.
- Get your blood pressure checked regularly (at least once a year). This can help you prevent high blood pressure complications and make sure that lifestyle changes are working for you—and if they’re not, it will let you know when it’s time to try something else.
- Avoid alcohol because it causes fluid build-up in the body, which can increase blood pressure levels and make them harder to control over time. If you do drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men; don’t binge or drink on an empty stomach; stay hydrated with water or low-sugar juices throughout the day instead of replacing meals with alcohol; avoid mixing caffeine with alcohol; don’t smoke cigarettes while drinking alcohol (it increases nicotine absorption); wait at least two hours after drinking before driving home from a social event so there’s no risk of causing an accident due to impaired judgment by mixing substances like this together! It’s important
The good news is that there are many ways to reduce the risk of developing hypertension. Regular exercise and weight management can help lower blood pressure as well as improve a person’s overall health. In addition, cutting back on alcohol consumption and reducing stress can also go a long way towards lowering blood pressure levels.