Why Is High Blood Pressure So Common?

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Mar 02, 2024

If you’ve ever heard people talking about hypertension or high blood pressure, they’re referring to the same issue. And it’s a very serious and even life-threatening problem.

Nearly half of American adults have hypertension — a significant risk for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in this country. 

Additional complications of high blood pressure include:

  • Aneurysm
  • Heart attack or failure
  • Eye and kidney problems
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Cognitive problems
  • Dementia

In this blog, our Comprehensive Primary Care team explains why this is such a common problem and how you can take action.

How blood pressure works

Each time the heart pumps, it pushes blood through your arteries. This action circulates blood throughout your body, providing your system with the oxygen it needs to function. 

However, there’s a little bit more to the story.

The blood also pushes against the delicate walls of your arteries with every pump. If it applies too much force for too long, it can damage the arteries. However, if it’s too low, it can also cause problems. 

Unfortunately, these issues usually don’t cause symptoms until serious complications arise. That’s why it’s crucial to get your blood pressure checked during doctor visits and preventive healthcare screenings

Common causes of high blood pressure

Several things can lead to high blood pressure — and most of them are due to lifestyle, which is why hypertension is such a widespread problem in this country.

Common risk factors include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Consuming an unhealthy diet, especially one high in salt or low in potassium
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Using tobacco or vaping
  • Being 55 or older
  • Having a family history of the condition or being Black

Some health conditions can also increase your chances of high blood pressure, including pregnancy, high cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid issues, sleep apnea, and kidney disease.

It’s also important to note that children and teens can also develop high blood pressure because of these risk factors as well.

Diagnosing and treating high blood pressure

The good news is that you can avoid the health complications of high blood pressure by getting it checked — and it’s completely painless! 

But you know what’s even better? You can often lower your blood pressure (or avoid hypertension entirely) by making healthy lifestyle changes.

The best ways to keep your blood pressure under control include:

  • Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Reducing your salt intake
  • Getting enough potassium
  • Limiting or avoiding alcoholic beverages
  • Exercising regularly
  • Quitting smoking
  • Learning stress management techniques

Our team could also prescribe medications to help bring your hypertension into a healthier range while you implement these lifestyle changes.

Remember, high blood pressure rarely causes symptoms until things get dangerous. If you think you could be at risk of this common condition, get your numbers checked as soon as possible.

Is your blood pressure in check? Contact Comprehensive Primary Care to schedule a visit with one of our experts in Lawrenceville or Suwanee, Georgia, today.