High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects nearly half of the American adult population. Estimates also suggest that only 24% of adults diagnosed with hypertension have their condition under control.
Often called the “silent killer,” hypertension rarely exhibits symptoms in the early stages, and it can cause damage to your blood vessels and heart for years before you receive a diagnosis.
So what can you do to lower your risk for a condition that comes with no warning signs?
To help you out, we asked our staff at First Care Medical Clinic about the most common causes of hypertension.
Chronic Kidney Disease
High blood pressure can be both a symptom and a cause of chronic kidney disease (CDK). Left untreated, CDK can lead to secondary hypertension, or high blood pressure due to an underlying condition.
Unless you address CDK, simply focusing on lowering your blood pressure alone won’t fix the problem.
There are several mechanisms through which high blood sugar levels can cause hypertension, including the following:
- Affecting the ability of blood vessels to stretch
- Increasing the amount of fluid in the body
- Raising the risk for kidney disease
Insulin resistance is also thought to increase high blood pressure risk. Therefore, even if you have your blood sugar under control, if you need a lot of insulin to control your blood sugar levels, you’re still at risk for developing hypertension.
Obesity is a complex phenomenon. Studies suggest that researchers can use body weight to predict the development of many chronic diseases, including hypertension and diabetes.
Excess body weight also increases the risk of sleep apnea, low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance, and leptin resistance, all known risk factors for hypertension.
In some cases, medications can come with adverse effects. Medications that can lead to hypertension include the following:
- Migraine medication
- Ibuprofen and naproxen
- Over-the-counter cold medicines
- Herbal remedies containing licorice
- Stimulants (e.g., Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin)
In most cases, medication-induced hypertension is reversible.
Other common causes of hypertension
By now, it’s clear to many researchers that hypertension and complications of hypertension are largely caused by a combination of genetics and lifestyle choices. Although specialists can’t change your genetic makeup, you can change your lifestyle.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, half of the deaths caused by cardiovascular disease can be prevented by lifestyle changes alone. Our staff at Primary Care Medical Clinic can help guide you towards making these life-saving changes.
Want to find out what could be causing your hypertension and learn how to manage it? If so, contact us to schedule an appointment.