Most people know what hypertension is â€“ high blood pressure. And most also know that in severe cases, hypertension can lead to major illness and often become life threatening. What many people donâ€™t know is how widespread the problem is. Current estimates are that approximately 72 million Americans are affected by hypertension is some form or another. That huge number demonstrates the magnitude of the problem.
The medical jury is still out on the basic causes of hypertension in adults. But there are certain factors that are generally accepted as being the leading reasons or indirect causes of hypertension in adults.
Obesity. A shocking 33% and more of Americans are overweight to some extent. This excess weight puts an extra burden on the heart which result sin the heart pumping harder and the blood pressure rising. This simple fact is the most common cause of hypertension in adults.
Americans are known for their love of junk and high cholesterol foods. While growing awareness has resulted in a drop in the consumption of these foods, they are still eaten too much and remain a leading cause of hypertension in adults.
A sedentary lifestyle is a major cause of hypertension. Far too many people are tied to their desks or computers from morning to night. This sedentary lifestyle causes the muscles of the heart to weaken and can lead to the formation of blood clots that can restrict the flow of blood, causing a rise in blood pressure.
Coupled with the sedentary life is the lack of physical exercise - being a couch potato means that your metabolism is being slowed down and this makes it difficult for your body to rid itself of all the toxins that the food we eat and the pollution that surrounds us place in our bodies. These toxins can cause the blood pressure to rise needlessly.
Stress is a major cause of hypertension. Stress causes the heart to pump faster and the body to release adrenalin which speeds up the metabolism resulting in a rise in blood pressure. The more stressed a person is, the longer the blood pressure stays high â€“ one more major cause of hypertension in adults.
High levels of salt (sodium) intake cause the blood pressure to rise and stay elevated.
Aging affects the muscles of the heart and can be a cause of hypertension in adults.
Diseases such as diabetes or kidney infections can affect the functioning of the heart and cause the blood pressure to rise.
Adrenal or thyroid gland problems are yet another cause of hypertension in adults because the chemical changes they cause to the body affect the heart function.
Genetic issues can lead to a predisposition to have heart problems and hypertension.
Many of these causes of hypertension in adults are controllable with a lifestyle change. And for the rest there is hypertension medication. With care, hypertension is both preventable and treatable.