Monday, July 25, 2011 17:40
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ANYONE can suffer from hypertension, regardless of age, sex or race. In more than 90 per cent of hypertensives, an underlying cause cannot be identified; they are said to be suffering from ‘primary’ or ‘essential’ hypertension. Genetic as well as environmental factors are involved. The genetic factors are still unknown. But some of the environmental culprits have been identified. Thus we know, for instance, that in societies that consume little or no salt the incidence of hypertension is extremely low.The following factors, among others, can put you at higher risk for hypertension:A family history of hypertension. High blood pressure tends to run in families.Age. High blood pressure is more common among older people, partly because arteries tend to harden with age, making them less resilient to the force of the heart’s contractions.High blood pressure is uncommon but not unheard of in children and adolescents. In young adulthood and early middle age, high blood pressure occurs more frequently in men than in women; thereafter, the reverse is true.(Some women get temporary high blood pressure during pregnancy. It’s vital to treat this for the health of both, mother and baby).Smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and is known to cause blood vessels to constrict and the heart rate to go up by as many as 33 beats a minute, placing added stress on the heart.Excessive alcohol intake. Research has linked a rise in high blood pressure to a daily intake exceeding two drinks (approximately two beers, two glasses of wine or two mixed drinks).Stress. Although this is a difficult risk factor to measure,there is a growing body of evidence that stress contributes to highblood pressure. One well-known study compared the b.p. levels of pilots with those of the more highly stressed air traffic controllers and found that, among the latter, pressure was significantly higher on average.Though blood pressure goes up in all people during periods of stress, avoiding stress will not prevent high blood pressure if you are at risk. You can have high blood pressure even if you are usually a calm, relaxed person.Dietary deficits such as inadequate potassium, which promotes salt retention.Conditions of ill-health such as kidney disease, diabetes or gout or the use of birth control pills, which bring on what is known as secondary hypertension. Once the primary medical condition is brought under control, the pressure usually lowers.*58\332\2*

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