Understanding Your Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure: Lifestyle Behaviors, Medical Conditions, and Genetics

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common medical condition affecting millions worldwide.  It occurs when the force of blood against the walls of your arteries is too high, leading to serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke.  While some risk factors for high blood pressure cannot be controlled, such as age and family history, there are many factors that you can manage to lower your risk.

Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can increase your risk for high blood pressure.  If you have elevated blood pressure, which is slightly higher than usual, you are at an increased risk for developing chronic high blood pressure in the future.  Diabetes also raises your risk for high blood pressure and creates heart disease.  Therefore, working with your doctor to manage these conditions and control other risk factors is essential.

Lifestyle Behaviors: High blood pressure is influenced by lifestyle behaviors such as diet, physical activity, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and tobacco use.  A diet high in sodium and low in potassium can increase blood pressure, while physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can help lower it.  Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is essential to get the right amount of potassium and limit sodium intake.  Obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use can also increase blood pressure, and it is recommended to limit alcohol intake and avoid tobacco use.

Family History and Genetics: Family history and genetics also influence your risk for high blood pressure.  You may be at an increased risk if your family members have high blood pressure.  Genetics likely plays some role in high blood pressure and related conditions.  However, it is also possible that people with a family history of high blood pressure share everyday environments and other potential risk factors.  It is essential to talk to your doctor about your family history and take steps to control your risk factors.

Knowing your risk for high blood pressure is vital for maintaining your health and preventing severe medical conditions.  While some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as age and family history, there are many lifestyle behaviors that you can control to reduce your risk.  Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption and tobacco use, and working with your doctor to manage medical conditions can all help lower your risk for high blood pressure.  To learn more about how you can manage your high blood pressure, connect with a Greater Family Health provider today by calling 844.599.3700.

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