What causes high blood pressure?
High blood pressure (hypertension) has many causes. Some are unavoidable (like growing older!). Others are a result of lifestyle choices.
Unavoidable things that raise your risk:
- Family history – your genes
- Related diseases like diabetes 1
Risk factors you can change 2 :
- High salt (sodium) in what you eat
- Not enough potassium in your diet
- Too little exercise
- Tobacco and alcohol use
- Being over-weight
In other words, a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and getting exercise can lower the risk of getting high blood pressure, and help reduce your blood pressure if it is already high.
So does stopping smoking and reducing alcohol.
What should I do to reduce my risk of getting high blood pressure?
- Eat less than 1,500 mg of salt a day
- Eat fruits and vegetables high in potassium (bananas, oranges, potatoes or sweet potatoes)
- Eat only small amounts of saturated fats like margarine and butter
- Keep daily alcohol to under 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink for women
- Stop smoking
- Exercise daily
- Reduce stress 2
FUN TIP: Small changes in blood pressure make big changes in your health! Lowering your systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg, or your diastolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg can make a difference.
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The articles provided on this website are for informational purposes only. In addition, it is written for a generic audience and not a specific case; therefore, this information should not be used for diagnostic or medical treatment. This site does not attempt to replace the patient-physician relationship and fully recommends the reader to seek out the best care from his/her physician and/or diabetes educator.
- National High Blood Pressure Education Program. The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure