The definition of risk factors for hypertension means the factors or conditions that can increase the chances to develop hypertension disease. Risk factors are divided into 2 big groups, they are modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Non-modifiable risk factors are mostly genetically related and cannot be changed, for example their sex, race and certain genetically inherited diseases . Meanwhile the modifiable risk factors are the conditions that can be changed and improved such as smoking cigarettes, alcoholism and unhealthy lifestyle.
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted to the walls of blood vessels by the circulating blood when the heart pumps it out. The normal blood pressure in a healthy individual is 120/ 80mmHg. Hypertension (increased blood pressure) is one of the most common diseases that can worsen heart health. According to an article published by Baishideng Publishing Group, as of the year 2020, 3 in 10 adults aged more than 18 years old have hypertension and it is an alarming situation. Follow this article to find out more about the risk factors of hypertension so that you can improve your heart health.
Non-modifiable risk factors for hypertension
The chances of developing hypertension increase together with your age. As you get older, the elasticity of your blood vessels decreases and becomes stiffer, this is due to the loss of elastic tissue in the wall of the blood vessels. The blood pressure will increase over time and lead to hypertension.
The prevalence of hypertension varies in different races. It is more commonly reported to happen in African heritage. There is no study specifically done to find out the reason for this situation. But it is a well known fact that African people develop hypertension earlier in age and reported more serious complications such as stroke, kidney failure and heart attack when compared to caucasions or ‘white’ people.
Biologically, males are different from females. There are major differences in sex-related hormonal regulation which results in an increase of blood pressure in males. There is evidence stating that estrogens give vasodilating effects by modulating the vascular endothelial function which eventually decrease the blood pressure in women. Men are most likely to suffer from hypertension before the age of 64 while women after the age of 65 due to hormonal changes occurred after menopause.
- Family history
You are most likely to suffer from hypertension if one or both of your parents had a history for this disease. This is due to certain traits such as the elasticity of blood vessels, heart conditions and hormonal imbalance can be passed down to you genetically.
Modifiable risk factors for hypertension
- Smoking cigarettes
The chemical contents in the cigarettes are not only increasing the risk of hypertension to the smokers, but also to the people surrounding them or often known as the secondhand smokers. The chemical ingredients in it can damage the wall lining of arteries which lead to narrowing of its lumen and contributing to an increase of blood pressure. This can lead to hypertension if this habit is not put to a stop.
- High cholesterol and sodium foods intake
Atherosclerosis is no doubt the main culprit that changes the blood vessels’ integrity which leads to an increase in blood pressure. This situation occurs when there is high cholesterol content in daily meals. The cholesterol will adhere to the walls of blood vessels and over time, it becomes a plaque which will narrow the lumen and harden the arteries.
Sodium is a must in most foods preparation, we cannot enjoy the taste of everyday meals without it. But, bear in mind that too much sodium can increase the risk of hypertension. Sodium can cause your body to reabsorb more water in your blood. This high volume of fluid in blood can increase the blood pressure.
- Lack of physical activity
Regular exercise can help you in reducing blood pressure. Heart muscles increase their strengths when you do regular exercises which will reduce its effort to pump the blood throughout your body.
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