What are the Risk Factors for Hypertension?

Although a single cause for hypertension is not known, there are several risk factors that increase your chances of developing hypertension. The more risk factors a person has the higher the associated risk of hypertension.

Hypertension can lead to other diseases as well as make other conditions worse. Hypertension also greatly increases your risk of a Heart Attack or Stroke. It is important to your health and your future to learn about the risk factors for hypertension. Some risk factors cannot be changed and we must accept them, but by controlling and changing the risk factors you can change you decrease your risks.

Risk Factors you already know you should change are:

1) Exposure to environmental pollutants, such as tobacco smoke

2) Obesity

3) Lack of exercise

4) Drinking too much alcohol

5) Certain prescriptions (Ritalin, hormones, steroids, anti-rejection medications) and many others) and illegal drugs (amphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy).

6) Diet – a diet high in sodium puts strain on the blood vessels by increasing the fluid volume in the body (salt attracts water)

7) Stress – we could all benefit from a little less of this.

Risk factors you may need to control:

1) Pregnancy – the extra volume of blood, plus toxemia from high dietary salt intake can put a great strain on the vascular system.

2) Kidney failure – the body is unable to remove fluids from the body causing an increase in fluid volume and blood pressure.

3) Right-sided Heart Failure – decreases the hearts ability to pump high volumes of fliud through the heart causing a back-up into the blood vessels

Risk Factors that can not be changed or controlled are:

1) Family history of hypertension especially onset before the age of 50.

2) Age – the older you get the greater your changes of getting hypertension

3) Gender (male>female)

4) Race (Afro-American)

5) Nervous System disorders

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