Over 45 percent of adult Americans suffer from high blood pressure. Hypertension is a debilitating and dangerous health condition. It can make you susceptible to serious diseases like heart disease and stroke. It is important to manage blood pressure and maintain it at normal levels. Before you start treating high blood pressure, it is important to find the root cause.
Below are 6 causes that might be triggering your hypertension.
1. Diet high in salt
Most Americans eat about 3,400 mg of salt daily, while it is recommended to consume less than 1,500mg. Eating too much salt is the most common and easily treatable cause of high blood pressure. When you consume too much sodium, your body holds additional water to remove the salt. Water retention in the body causes your blood pressure to increase.
The treatment is quite simple in this situation. You need to limit your intake of salt. Try to avoid processed and prepared foods because they often contain high amounts of salt. Prepare your lunch at home so you will be sure you don’t exceed your daily norm for salt intake.
2. Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that blocks your airways during the night’s sleep. An episode of sleep apnea can last from several seconds to a minute until your brain wakes you up. This condition is often associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure. The sudden drop of oxygen during the episode of sleep apnea strains the cardiovascular system and increases your blood pressure.
If you have disrupted sleep, wake up restless, or your partner has noticed that you stop breathing during the night’s sleep, then you may have sleep apnea. It is important to discuss it with your doctor. The specialist may suggest a special device that allows keeping the airways open while you sleep.
Genetics plays a role in your risk of many serious health conditions. It can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. If one of your relatives has problems with blood pressure, you are at higher risk compared to the other people. For this reason, it is important to know your family history of diseases and report them to your doctor.
Although there is little you can do to change your genetic predisposition, you still can take preventative measures. This can help decrease the risk or delay the development of high blood pressure.
4. Hormonal imbalances
Hormones play a crucial role in your body and regulate a lot of bodily processes. Many hormones help control your blood pressure. When you have an imbalance of these hormones, you become susceptible to high blood pressure. For instance, hormones like angiotensin and aldosterone control the diameter of your arteries and how much water and sodium are moved out of the body. The imbalance of both these hormones can cause high blood pressure.
Your doctor can help you confirm if you have a hormonal imbalance after several simple tests. After testing, a specialist can help choose a hormonal imbalance treatment and improve blood pressure.
People who are overweight tend to have higher blood pressure compared to people with a normal BMI (body mass index). Excessive weight can increase your risk of hypertension by 40 percent. When you are obese, your heart has to work more intensively to pump blood through the body. Because the heart works intensively, your arteries strain and prevent normal blood flow. This causes increases in blood pressure and increases your risk of heart disease.
Losing excessive weight is the best tactic to prevent high blood pressure and ensure overall health. If you have difficulty losing weight on your own, ask a specialist for professional help.
6. Potassium deficiency
Potassium plays a key role in regulating your blood pressure. The more potassium you eat, the more salt you waste. This prevents water retention in the body and decreases your risk of high blood pressure. For this reason, doctors often recommend increasing the intake of potassium for people suffering from hypertension. Foods containing potassium include bananas, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, and mushrooms.
Keep in mind that eating too much potassium can also be bad for your health and increase the risk of heart problems. If you are considering potassium supplements to treat hypertension, consult your doctor first.