Who is Most at Risk for High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is a dangerous and undesirable health condition that almost one in three adults suffer from. Optimal blood pressure readings are generally considered to be anything less than 120/80. Pre-hypertension is between 120/80 and 139/89 and hypertension is 140/90 and above.

Although two people may have the same lifestyle, they may not have the same blood pressure readings and this is because there are many factors that affect your risk of developing high blood pressure. Some causes can be tackled with a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and taking daily vitamin supplements; other factors are hereditary and cannot be changed. Checkout the list below to see how you may be able to minimize the risk of hypertension as you age.

Age
Alas, there is little we can do to prevent the passing of time, and age is a common risk factor for developing high blood pressure. In middle age it is more common in men, but after menopause women are more likely to develop high blood pressure.

Race
African Americans are more prone to high blood pressure, and at an earlier age than their white counterparts. Both genetics and social factors play a part, so it is particularly important for African Americans to pay attention to other risk factors, lowering the risk where possible.

Family History
Odds are if your family has high blood pressure, you will too.

Being Overweight
The more you weigh, the harder your heart has to work to supply oxygen and nutrients to your body, increasing pressure on your artery walls. Every pound you lose will help lower your blood pressure.

Lack of Exercise
People who live sedentary lives have higher heart rates and tend to have a weight problem. Introduce some exercise every day and see the result with lower blood pressure and possibly lower body weight.

Smoking
Smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raises your blood pressure temporarily. Tobacco also permanently damages the lining of artery walls, leading to narrower arteries and increased blood pressure. Beware of second hand smoke too, which can have the same damaging effect over time.

Salt
Too much salt or sodium in the diet causes the body to retain fluid and this also increases blood pressure. Make sure you are getting sufficient potassium which helps to counter sodium in the blood by taking a daily vitamin supplement containing it. Cutting down on salt will minimize the risk of both hypertension and stroke.

Alcohol
Heavy drinking is known to damage your heart over time. Drinking two or three drinks in succession causes the body to release hormones that increase both the heart rate and blood flow. Keep alcohol consumption within safe guidelines of 14 units per week for women and 21 units for men.

Stress
High levels of stress can lead to a dramatic increase in blood pressure and has to be tackled at source through relaxation techniques and avoiding the cause of stress wherever possible.

Self-test your blood pressure regularly at your local pharmacy and consult a doctor if you have consistently high levels of blood pressure which cannot be controlled through a healthy lifestyle, sensible diet, daily natural supplements and exercise.

Source:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/DS00100/DSECTION=risk-factors

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