In the US, high blood pressure is very common – affecting 1 in 4 people. In order to avoid it yourself, you’ll need to get to know what causes it. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. In other words, it means that the force of blood in your arteries is higher than normal. And why is it a problem? Well, it can lead to hardening arteries, heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Not good!

So what’s behind this all-too-common health issue? Here’s an overview of the causes of high blood pressure…

First, some causes of high blood pressure are lifestyle choices – and these are the ones that are within your power to change!

As you’ll see, not all causes of high blood pressure are within your control. But there are some that you can choose to change – even if it’s challenging! Whether you already have a diagnosis or not, these are important things to consider. Do any of these apply to you?

1. Smoking.
Use of a tobacco product temporarily raises your blood pressure. Plus, chemicals in tobacco cigarettes are known to damage artery walls. Eventually, your arteries get narrower. Then your blood pressure rises to push through the smaller artery ways.

2. Salt.
Too much salt (sodium) in your diet can wreck the delicate balance in your bloodstream. This puts extra strain on arteries, kidneys, heart, and brain.

3. Alcohol.
Having 3 or more drinks in one sitting will temporarily increase your blood pressure. Then, repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases.

4. Weight.
An overweight body needs more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to all its parts. In addition, extra fat in the body can contribute to the arteries stiffening with fatty deposits.

5. Inactivity.
If you don’t have much or any cardio exercise, then your heart doesn’t have a chance to strengthen itself. Becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure (top number in a blood pressure reading).

6. Stress.
When under stress, the body produces a surge of hormones. These hormones temporarily boost your blood pressure, speeding up the beat of your heart and narrowing your blood vessels. Practice daily simple habits that reduce stress.

7. Nutrient deficiency.
If you’re lacking in nutrients, it may be more challenging for your body to function optimally. Be sure that you’re consuming your daily dose of heart-healthy nutrients like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

In addition, high blood pressure can also result from other medical issues, whether directly or indirectly.

In these cases, you may need to deal with the main medical issue first, before expecting any natural changes in blood pressure. Here are some medical issues that increase the risk of high blood pressure…

8. Kidney disease.
When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, they can’t maintain the balance of water and minerals (like sodium, potassium, and phosphorus) in your blood.

9. Thyroid problems.
If the thyroid doesn’t produces unusual levels of hormones (too much or too little), it can cause speeding or slowing in your heart rate and blood pressure.

10. Sleep apnea.
The sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system

11. Diabetes.
Some people with diabetes can have complications that lead to kidney problems – which in turn can cause high blood pressure

If you are suffering from one of these ailments, then it’s that much more important for you to make smart lifestyle choices to avoid increasing your blood pressure.

Finally, some risk factors for high blood pressure are unavoidable – literally in our DNA.

Unfortunately, not all causes of high blood pressure are within your control. There are a few unavoidable (and powerful) factors that you should consider…

12. Genetics.
In one of the largest genomic studies ever, an international group identified 29 genetic variations that influence blood pressure.

13. Family History.
If your family has suffered from high blood pressure, then you are more at risk. Genetics aren’t the only reason. More so, family’s may share in behaviors, lifestyles, and environments that increase risk.

14. Age.
People over 35 are more at risk, as the body begins to age. There is more possibility for the heart to weaken. In addition, artery walls are damaged. Plus, other medical issues may contribute.

Do you fall into one or more of these risk zones? Then it’s all the more important for you to consider how to make good lifestyle choices and avoid related medical issues.

The truth is: most high blood pressure is caused by a complex mix of these factors.

In most cases, there is no one thing that causes someone to suddenly have high blood pressure. Usually, it’s a long and complex strand of factors. Ultimately, the best things you can do is educate yourself. Making good choices is the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

To really control your blood pressure, you really have to be active in your pursuit of good health!

If you have high blood pressure, it’s so important to take care of your body. This means staying informed and making good choices – like knowing what foods reduce blood pressure and how to easily take your blood pressure at home, as well as supplements that support your heart.

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