Common Causes Of High Blood Pressure

When it comes to health and your well-being, one vital statistic that you need to manage is your blood pressure. We've all seen the arm compression testers at drugstores or been tested during a doctor visit, but you can actually even invest in home kits that test your blood pressure. You can manage blood pressure, for example, through your diet and your exercise regimens. Certain foods, like whole grains, can help maintain low blood pressure levels.

While you should know what to expect when you go for a blood pressure screening, you should also know the facts about your blood pressure and what can cause your numbers to spike or even remain high. You should also know what blood pressure is. "Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it flows through the arteries in your body," Family Doctor explained. A reading consists of two numbers. The top number "measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats," while the bottom number "measures the pressure in your arteries between beats," (via Mayo Clinic).

Because most people don't check their blood pressure often — and you can have high blood pressure for long periods of time without exhibiting symptoms — some people don't realize they're struggling with it until something fatal occurs. Because of this, it's important to know the common causes of high blood pressure and how you can avoid them.

Can you have high blood pressure just because one of your parents did?

High blood pressure can come from many factors. "Food, medicine, lifestyle, age, and genetics can cause high blood pressure," Family Doctor explained, adding that your doctor can help you uncover the cause of yours. Food is one of the worst offenders. Foods high in fat, salt, and cholesterol can greatly affect your blood pressure, and if your diet consists of these often, your prolonged high blood pressure can cause other severe health issues.

Age can also impact your blood pressure. As you age, your blood pressure regulates itself differently. "Until about age 64, high blood pressure is more common in men. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 65," the Mayo Clinic explained. Moreover, it can simply be genetic. If your family experiences high blood pressure, it's more likely that you will.

According to the Mayo Clinic, other factors include how much alcohol you drink, how much potassium is in your body, your level of physical activity, and how much tobacco you use. The more alcohol you consume, the higher your blood pressure can become. The same applies to tobacco use. If you don't exercise enough, you run the same risk, and too little potassium means your body can't properly fight the amount of sodium you've taken in.

Overall, high blood pressure can be regulated and/or avoided by basic diet and exercise regimens.