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There are many reasons for anyone who has high blood pressure, also called hypertension, none of them good. Here’s the story.

High blood pressure is the main risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.

Julie Corliss, the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter, says survivors who take their blood pressure drugs as prescribed may be more likely not to have a serious fall than those who don’t their medication consistently, according to a very recent study in the January 2023 issue of Hypertension.

Researchers followed 4,067 people who’d received high blood pressure drugs following a stroke. For the first six months of the study, almost half didn’t take the drugs, due to a variety of reasons, like  troublesome health care issues, difficulty in remembering, and a fear of falling from medication side effects.

In a year’s time, researchers found that people who took their blood pressure drugs as prescribed were less likely to have been hospitalized for a fall, to have serious cardiovascular issues, or to have died  compared with people who didn’t consistently take their prescribed medication. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers specific reasons for hypertension:

  • Elevated blood pressure usually develops over time. Having consistent blood pressure increases your risk for developing chronic, or long-lasting, high blood pressure in the future.
  • About 6 out of 10 of people who have diabetes also have high blood pressure. That’s because sugars to build up in the blood and increases the risk for heart disease.
  • A diet that is too high in sodium (salt) and too low in potassium offers the risk for high blood pressure. Eating too much salt increases blood pressure, particularly processed foods. Eating too little potassium also can increase your blood pressure, such as potassium-rich foods like bananas, potatoes, and beans.
  • Regular physical activity helps your heart and blood vessels stay strong and can also help you keep a healthy weight, which may also help lower your blood pressure.
  • Obesity or simply overweight means your heart must work overtime to pump blood and oxygen throughout your body. Obesity can also bring on heart disease and diabetes.
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can raise your blood pressure. Women should have no more than one drink a day. Men should have no more than two drinks a day.
  • Tobacco use increases your risk for high blood pressure. Smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels. Nicotine raises blood pressure, and breathing in carbon monoxide which is produced from smoking tobacco reduces the amount of oxygen your blood can distribute.
  • Family members share genes, behaviors, lifestyles, and environments that can influence their likelihood for hypertension. The result for high blood pressure can increase when heredity and unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking and eating unhealthy foods, come into play.
  • High blood pressure is often inherited in a family, and your risk for high blood pressure can increase based on your age and your race or ethnicity.  
    • Both men and women can have high blood pressure. Women are about as likely as men to develop high blood pressure at some point during their lives. With increasing age, roughly 9 out of 10 Americans will develop high blood pressure in their lifetime.
    • Black people develop high blood pressure more often than white people, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, or Alaska Natives do. Compared with white people, black people also develop high blood pressure earlier in life.
  • Stress, it goes without saying, can produce high blood pressure. Strongly enhanced emotions (like freaking out) are like that.

An important note: World Hypertension Day is observed every May 17th in order to raise awareness and promote hypertension prevention. Usually, high blood pressure offers no warnings. Pay particular attention to the bulleted list. Hypertension is dangerous!

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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