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Controlling Factors Related to Hypertension

Risk Factors for Primary Hypertension

Although the cause of primary hypertension is not known, there are a number of risk factors that increase a person's chance of developing the condition. Unfortunately, some of these risk factors for primary hypertension cannot be controlled, including:
 
  • Being a male over the age of 45 or a female over the age of 55
  • Having a family history of high blood pressure
  • Being African American.
     
However, there are a number of primary hypertension risk factors that can be controlled, including:
 
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive
  • Having a high salt and sodium intake
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Having diabetes
  • Low potassium intake (due to not eating enough fruits and vegetables).
     

Recommendations

The prevention of primary hypertension involves reducing the controllable risk factors for the condition. In fact, lifestyle changes that affect these risk factors can not only help prevent high blood pressure, but in those who already have the condition, these lifestyle changes can help lower blood pressure.
 
Some of these changes may include:
 
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Cutting down the salt in your diet
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Following a healthy diet (with more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods).
     
It may take three to six months before you see the full benefit of lifestyle changes. Also, adopting a healthy lifestyle does not guarantee that you will not develop high blood pressure. Unfortunately, the risk factors that you cannot control will influence the chance of developing high blood pressure. But in most cases, by adopting a healthy lifestyle and reducing risk factors, your blood pressure will be less than it would be otherwise.
 
(Click Lower Blood Pressure for more information about these high blood pressure prevention strategies.)
 
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