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What causes high blood pressure?

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Quick Answer

According to Mayo Clinic, primary hypertension, or high blood pressure, has no identifiable causes and develops over time. Medical conditions such as chronic kidney disease, thyroid disease, sleep apnea, congenital blood defects and adrenal gland tumors are causes of secondary high blood pressure. Other causes include taking oral contraceptives, using cocaine or amphetamines and abusing alcohol.

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What causes high blood pressure?
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Full Answer

High blood pressure is risky to the health of a person because it causes the heart to overwork. It also contributes to atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries, as stated by WebMD.

There are some medicines and supplements that may increase the blood pressure of a person. These include acetaminophen, antidepressants, hormonal birth control, caffeine, decongestants, some herbal supplements, immunosuppressants, stimulants, NSAIDs and illegal drugs.

High blood pressure, or HBP, usually does not present any visible symptoms, states the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Some individuals learn that they have high blood pressure because they experience other problems, such as stroke or kidney failure. High blood pressure creates complications in the heart, including aneurysms and weakening of the heart.

Stage 1 high blood pressure is defined as having a blood pressure of 140 to 159 millimeters of mercury over 90 to 99 millimeters of mercury, explains Mayo Clinic. Stage 2 high blood pressure is defined as having a blood pressure of 160 millimeters of mercury and above over 100 millimeters of mercury and above.

High blood pressure that affects certain families tends to affect more men than women. Race and age have a significant role in hypertension too. In the U.S., blacks have a higher risk of getting hypertension than whites, as stated by WebMD. Black women over age 65 years are most prone to hypertension. People who are likely to suffer from high blood pressure include smokers, people over 35 years old, sleep apnea patients, members of a family with a history of high blood pressure and people with obesity.

According to WebMD, high blood pressure is treated in a variety of ways, including making lifestyle changes and taking medications. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, managing and reducing stress, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising daily are recommended. Medications including diuretics, ACE inhibitors, alpha blockers, vasodilators and angiotensin II receptor blockers are often prescribed for controlling and lowering high blood pressure.

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