Home
 

Causes of Hypertension


hypertension causes
Blood pressure rises
due to the narrowing of the main transport arteries carrying blood all over the body and of their smaller branches called arterioles. When the flow of blood gets through a narrowed artery or arteriole, the heart has to work harder increasing the discharge of blood into the bloodstream. In such cases 90-95% of patients develop essential arterial hypertension the exact causes of which are impossible to identify. The remaining 5-10% of patients develop secondary hypertension.

The risk factors and causes of essential hypertension

  • Age. The walls of the large arteries become more rigid with age, and due to that vascular resistance to the flow of blood increases, therefore, blood pressure rises;
  • Genetic predisposition. Arterial hypertension in first-degree relatives (father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, siblings) significantly increases the chances of developing this condition;
  • Sex. Men are more predisposed to the development of hypertension, especially those aged 35-50. However, after menopause the risk is significantly increased in women as well;
  • Smoking. The components of tobacco smoke, when getting into the bloodstream, cause spasms of the vessels, promote mechanical damage to the arterial walls which predisposes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques;
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Daily consumption of hard drinks increases blood pressure by 5-6 mmHg per year;
  • hypertension causes:salt, lifestyleExcessive consumption of salt. Too much salt in the body often leads to arteriospasm, water retention and, as a result, the progression of arterial hypertension;
  • Obesity. It is believed that every extra 5 kg (about 2.3 lbs) promote the increase in blood pressure by 5 mmHg and raise the risk of diabetes;
  • Low physical activity. People leading a sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk (20-50% higher) of developing hypertension than those actively involved in sports or physical work. Untrained heart copes with load poorly, and metabolism gets slower;
  • Excessive stresses. The stress hormone (adrenaline) makes the heart beat faster pumping more blood volume per unit of time, so arterial pressure increases. If stress continues for a long time, then constant load wears out the blood vessels and hypertension becomes chronic;
  • Atherosclerosis. An excess of cholesterol leads to the loss of arterial elasticity, and atherosclerotic plaques narrow the lumen of the vessels complicating the work of the heart. All this leads to a rise in blood pressure. However, hypertension, in its turn, promotes the development of atherosclerosis, thus, these diseases are the risk factors for each other;
  • Use of contraceptive agents. Estrogens from contraceptive pills cause increase in blood pressure in 5% of women;
  • Diabetes. The hormone produced by the cells of pancreas, insulin (which regulates the level of glucose in blood and its assimilability in cells), has vasodilating properties. Stimulating sympathetic activity in healthy people insulin does not cause a significant increase in blood pressure, whereas in people suffering from diabetes the vasodilating effect of insulin is suppressed by sympathetic activity and that leads to a persistently high arterial pressure;
  • Lack of potassium and magnesium. These trace elements are necessary for a good regulation of blood flow. Potassium actively removes excess sodium, thus, making blood vessels more resistant to the hormones that narrow them. Magnesium is involved in the generation of the cardiac impulse influencing the bloodstream.

Besides, the use of certain drugs may be the provoke changes in arterial pressure, for example, corticosteroids, tricyclic antidepressants, anabolic steroids, bronchodilators, lithium drugs, etc. In addition, hypertension may be one of the pregnancy complications.

The causes of secondary arterial hypertension

If it is possible to find the exact cause of increased blood pressure, then we are talking about secondary (symptomatic) arterial hypertension associated with:

  • Kidney diseases – renal failure, obstruction of the renal arteries (renal atherosclerosis);
  • Adrenal gland tumors that cause excessive production of hormones (adrenaline, aldosterone, cortisol). These include pheochromocytoma, primary aldosteronism, Cushing's syndrome;
  • Excess or deficiency of thyroid hormones – hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism;
  • Cardiovascular diseases – defects in the structure of the aorta, heart defects, complete atrioventricular block, etc.;
  • Neurogenic disorders – cerebral atherosclerosis, encephalopathy, peripheral nervous system abnormalities, etc.;
  • Blood disorders - polycythemia vera.

 

 Next chapter: Symptoms of Hypertension

 

 
 
Featured Articles

Can Depression Cause a Heart Attack?

Can Depression Cause a Heart Attack?

Heart disease and depression are both very serious and common conditions. They affect millions of people worldwide, and sometimes occur...

Does living in the mountains improve the health of…

Does living in the mountains improve the health of your heart?

Mountains have always been associated with the idea of strength, beauty and magnificence.  Many people consider mountains a symbol of...

Breathing Exercises for Your Heart

Breathing Exercises for Your Heart

Everyone knows how good morning exercises are for our body and health, but we know very little about the benefits...

Can You Die from a Heart Attack During Sex?

Can You Die from a Heart Attack During Sex?

Sex is an important part of most couple’s relationship and life. Therefore, it is not surprising that some people worry...

Rare Causes of Hypertension

Rare Causes of Hypertension

Most likely you’ve heard about a condition called hypertension or high blood pressure. Nowadays, it is very common in a...

The C-Reactive Protein

The C-Reactive Protein

Blood tests are a great way to learn many things about the patient’s state of health and make a correct...

How do Positive Emotions Impact the Heart?

How do Positive Emotions Impact the Heart?

There are a huge number of factors that determine and impact the heart's wellbeing. These include diet, physical activity, lifestyle,...

Is Our Generation More Susceptible to Heart Diseas…

Is Our Generation More Susceptible to Heart Diseases?

Despite all the advancements of modern medicine, the number of people affected by cardiovascular diseases in developed countries is on...

How Bacterial Pneumonia Damages the Heart

How Bacterial Pneumonia Damages the Heart

Bacterial pneumonia is an infection that affects one or both of the lungs. It creates an inflammation of the alveoli...

The Best Cardio Exercises For Your Heart

The Best Cardio Exercises For Your Heart

What is the driving force behind our lives? Certainly, exercise is one of the things that come to mind. Not...

Are Heart Problems Hereditary?

Are Heart Problems Hereditary?

Heart disease is currently the world's leading cause of death. Heart disease is not just one condition but a combination...

Computers: Can They Harm Your Heart

Computers: Can They Harm Your Heart

Most young and middle-aged people nowadays are working in offices equipped with computers and laptops. These people spend a tremendous...

10 Rules of Life for Patients with Varicose Veins

10 Rules of Life for Patients with Varicose Veins

The term “varicose veins” most commonly refers to the veins in the lower extremities because such veins mostly develop in...

Can Regular Consumption of Coffee and Energy Drink…

Can Regular Consumption of Coffee and Energy Drinks Damage the Heart?

At times, we all feel sleepy, tired, and devoid of energy - right after getting up in the morning, in...

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Heart Disease?

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Heart Disease?

Life in a big city is hectic with everyone hurrying somewhere, always being late and getting stressed due to the...

Are Women Less Susceptible to Heart Disease?

Are Women Less Susceptible to Heart Disease?

It is a well-known fact that women tend to live longer than men1. We may ask what is the reason...


To learn more about Cardiology, we recommend the following websites:

AHA-logoACC logoWHOwhf logowikipedia

ok