Hypertension, aka high blood pressure, can be incredibly deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death for Americans. Unfortunately, it is very common, with tens of millions of adults estimated to be suffering from it. What exactly is it, what is the number one cause, and what can you do to avoid it? Read on to find out what experts say—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
What Is Hypertension?
Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, NYC area spinal and orthopedic surgeon, explains that blood pressure is defined as the force of your blood pushing up against your blood vessels' walls. "Hypertension would mean that your blood is consistently pushing too strongly up against these walls, which could lead to multiple different adverse health outcomes," he says.
What Is the #1 Cause?
Dr. Okubadejo explains that it's tough to narrow it down to the number one cause for hypertension because there are many causes. They include obesity, excess salt in your diet, stress, genetics, smoking, or high alcohol consumption.
However, according to The Framingham Heart Study, excess body weight (including overweight and obesity), is the top risk factor. They found that approximately 26 percent of cases of hypertension in men and 28 percent in women were attributed to it.
What Habit Should You Drop ASAP to Avoid Hypertension?
To avoid hypertension, there are a few habits you should try and drop, per Dr. Okubadejo. "Try to stop consuming food with high amounts of sodium, don't be sedentary, stop drinking alcohol excessively, and stop stressing over unnecessary things," he notes.
What Can You Do to Prevent It?
Again, there are multiple ways to avoid hypertension. However, Dr. Okubadejo reveals that some of the most effective methods of preventing hypertension involve exercising regularly, decreasing your salt intake, eating a balanced diet, adding potassium to your diet, getting enough sleep, and attending routine checkups.
Keep in mind that there are usually no symptoms for hypertension. The best way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have it measured. Make sure to speak with your doctor if you haven't gotten your blood pressure checked in awhile or if you have reason to believe it is high. And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss these 15 Weight Loss Tips That Are Evidence Based, Say Experts.