Hypertension, better known as high blood pressure, is an extremely common condition. An estimated 46% of American adults live with hypertension. Although 95% of cases of hypertension don’t have a known underlying cause, certain risk factors make it more likely that you’ll develop hypertension.
While many of these factors can’t be changed, the good news is that some of them can. And it’s worth your effort because uncontrolled, long-term hypertension can lead to serious consequences like heart disease and strokes.
At Healthy Life Family Medicine, we want to help you prevent hypertension or treat it if you already have the condition. Our practice, founded by John Monroe, MD, consists of a team of medical professionals who are skilled in the treatment of high blood pressure.
Here, we explain the top seven factors that increase your risk for hypertension.
Race plays a role in the incidence of hypertension. Black people are more likely than people of other races to have high blood pressure. Although men generally have a higher risk of hypertension, black women over age 65 have the highest incidence.
The risk of developing hypertension increases as you get older. In adults over 65, the incidence of hypertension is 77% in men and 75% in women.
Adults ages 44 and younger are much less likely to have high blood pressure, with 30% of men in this age group having it and 19% women. The risk begins to increase in men from age 45 and in women from age 55.
Having high cholesterol can increase your risk of hypertension, which is a major reason why we regularly check your cholesterol levels. We can manage cholesterol levels with statin medications, which may reduce the risk of developing hypertension.
High blood sugar is also linked to a higher risk of hypertension. Even if you’re not diabetic, you should take care to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Having chronically high blood sugar levels significantly increases your risk of developing many diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
You’re more likely to have high blood pressure if other relatives have had the same condition. Your risk is highest if your mother or father also had hypertension.
Although you can’t change your family history, you can work to reduce your risk by keeping your blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check by following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
Multiple studies show that being overweight or obese tends to increase your risk of developing hypertension. Some have also suggested that being significantly overweight can increase your risk of high blood pressure by as much as 40%.
Eating foods with too much sodium (salt) has also been linked to high blood pressure. Many processed foods and fast foods contain loads of sodium, so you try to reduce your intake of these types of food.
The American Heart Association recommends aiming for a goal of consuming no more than 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day — significantly less than the amount most Americans consume.
Keep up with regular physicals and doctor’s appointments, when we check your blood pressure. You may not have any symptoms of high blood pressure until the condition has progressed to a dangerous point.
If you’re due for a physical or want to find out about your blood pressure, we would love to see you. Call our office in Goodyear, Arizona, or request an appointment online.