High blood pressure is a common and prevalent health problem. The Centers for Disease Control statistics state that approximately one in three American adults suffer from it. It cost an estimated 76.6 million dollars in medical services, blood pressure medicines and missed work in 2010 alone.
Blood pressure that is too high can lead to all kinds of health problems. Heart or kidney disease may develop. It can also cause blood vessel diseases and problems. It may even lead to heart attack or stroke. The best way to prevent these issues is to avoid it altogether.
Every person is susceptible to it to some degree. Some people have greater risk factors than others, though. Getting to know your own personal risk factors will be helpful. You’ll be better prepared to avoid the things that raise your blood pressure. Six of the biggest ones include:
1) Your age: Just like the rest of your body, your blood vessels wear out over time. The older you are, the weaker those vessels are likely to be. This puts you at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure as you age. Always remember that the older you get, the easier it will be to develop it.
Check your readings frequently as you age. You need not always see a doctor to do this. Stop into your local pharmacy and use the in-store monitor once per month.
2) Your genes: It’s uncertain to what degree genetics plays a role in elevated blood pressure. However, it’s accepted that those with a family history of it are more likely to develop it. Know your family medical history. If others in your family have had it, you may be prone, too. Be especially vigilant if one or more immediate family members (parents, siblings) has (or ever had) it.
3) Gender: Again, it’s not certain exactly how and why gender plays into blood pressure statistics as it does. Sufferers are more likely to be male in the 45 years and under age category. Individuals between 45 and 64 seem to be about equally susceptible, regardless of gender. After age 65, the number of female sufferers is higher than males.
4) Other existing medical conditions: Other kinds of health problems may pre-dispose the sufferer to high blood pressure. Chronic kidney and thyroid disease are two that make a sufferer particularly vulnerable.
5) Lifestyle: Certain lifestyle factors can increase a person’s risk of developing the problem. Smoking is a major one. The longer and more frequently a person smokes, the greater his/her risk. Being sedentary (little or no physical exercise routine) is another major risk factor. Poor diet and eating habits can also increase a person’s risk. Those who are overweight are much more likely to suffer from blood pressure that is too high. Excessive alcohol and salt consumption may also cause it.
6) Certain medications: Some drugs can cause a person’s blood pressure to rise. This may happen even if the person has no or few other risk factors present. NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) are one type that is known to sometimes raise blood pressure.
Most people fall into at least one of these categories at some point in their lifetimes. This is why vigilance applies to every person, not just the overweight or the elderly.
If you currently fall into more than one of these categories, your risk increases exponentially. Prevention is always better than treatment.
Start now by making simple lifestyle changes. Quit smoking, start exercising and begin eating a healthy diet. Vitamins may help, as well as natural blood pressure supplements.