There are many high blood pressure risk factors and some of them you have no control over, like family history, race, gender, and age. There are many lifestyle factors, however, that also put you at risk. Making changes may help you reduce your chances of developing hypertension as you age.
The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-level activity for most adults every week. If you are just getting started, talk to your provider about how to adjust your lifestyle to incorporate physical activity and what exercises would work best for you.
A healthy diet can decrease your risk significantly. You can start by making small changes to your diet like reducing salt intake and incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Your BMI is calculated using your height and weight and is used to determine if you are overweight or obese. A high BMI is one of the top high blood pressure risk factors. Losing weight with more physical activity and a better diet can help improve your BMI.
Drinking alcohol has been linked to many cardiovascular health risks including high blood pressure, heart failure, and an irregular heartbeat. Other risks associated with alcohol use include obesity, cancer, and mental health problems that increase the risk of suicide.
Your heart rate and blood pressure increase temporarily after being exposed to nicotine. This is both for smokers and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Over time, the chemicals in nicotine contribute to coronary artery disease and are one of many high blood pressure risk factors. It can also increase your risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other health conditions.
Stress and anxiety contribute to high blood pressure in several ways. The stress itself can cause changes in your body that cause increased blood pressure. Stress can also cause us to eat unhealthy foods, not get enough sleep, or turn to other unhealthy activities like drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Together, these things are high blood pressure risk factors.
Health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid problems, or certain autoimmune diseases are also high blood pressure risk factors. You may not be able to change your diagnosis, but by better managing those conditions, you can prevent or better manage high blood pressure as well.
If you are at high risk of developing high blood pressure, it’s important you see a provider regularly so they can spot changes early. They can also recommend lifestyle changes like those listed above and how you can start making them. Call Epic Heart & Vascular Center today to meet with one of our cardiologists.