Blood pressure is the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, occurs when your blood pressure is consistently too high.
You can take steps to lower your risk of high blood pressure and manage the condition.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure typically develops over time. The main causes of high blood pressure can include several unhealthy lifestyle habits, as well as certain health conditions like diabetes, obesity, or pregnancy. Family history and genetics may increase the risk of developing hypertension, but there are also many environmental and major lifestyle factors that greatly influence the risk of having high blood pressure, such as:
- Lack of regular physical activity
- Alcohol consumption and smoking
- Unhealthy diet
- Chronic stress
- High blood sugar levels
Risks of High Blood Pressure
When left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to other health conditions that negatively impact your quality of life. Heart attack, stroke, heart disease, chest pain (angina), kidney disease, and vision loss are all conditions that can develop when you have high blood pressure.
What You Can do to Lower Blood Pressure
Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, and one in three of those individuals may not even know that they have the disease. Measuring your blood pressure regularly is the best way to stay aware of this disease. It is recommended for readings to remain under 130/80 to control blood pressure. The good news is that there are natural ways to lower blood pressure. These six lifestyle changes can help improve the quality of your life and lower the risk of hypertension developing:
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and lower consumption in sodium, saturated fat, and trans fats. Try one of these recipes for a new healthy dish.
- Maintain a healthy weight and body fat percentage.
- Make regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.
- Manage your stress.
- Limit your alcohol consumption or quit completely.
- Quit smoking and/or using tobacco products. Resources like the Colorado QuitLine are available to support you.
Medications are also frequently used to help manage high blood pressure and can be very effective. Always talk to your health care provider if you have concerns about your blood pressure. Together, you can develop a plan that meets your unique needs.