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What causes high blood pressure

Posted Nov 03 2010 2:21am

High blood pressure is often known as ‘the silent killer’ because it doesn’t cause any obvious symptoms but can cause kidney failure, stokes or a heart attack. The Blood Pressure Association charity estimates that 40% of strokes could be avoided if people got their blood pressure checked regularly.

High blood pressure occurs if the heart has to work harder than normal. If untreated, it can cause the heart to become abnormally large and inefficient. This then increases the risk of it failing and a heart attack. High blood pressure also accelerates the hardening of arteries, making it harder for organs to be supplied with enough blood to work properly.

A third of adults in theUKare estimated to suffer from high blood pressure, which is approximately 16 million people. But why do so many people suffer from it?

Whilst we know high blood pressure is caused from an overactive heart, we don’t know the exact specific cause in 90% of cases. There is, however, strong evidence that there are risk factors that increase the chance of it developing. These are: age, family history, being of Afro-Caribbean origin, high fat and salt diet, lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking, excess alcohol and stress.

So, whilst we don’t know the exact cause of high blood pressure, we do know what you can do to get it reduced. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, stop smoking and reducing your alcohol intake can all help to get it reduced and avoid the health risks high blood pressure can cause.

Article contributed by All About Health – a resource of health advice and information that aims to spread awareness on the health services(such as weight management, stopping smoking and cholesterol screening)available in your local pharmacy.

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