Are You At Risk for High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can increase your chances of suffering from cardiac disease or a stroke. Understanding the risk factors for high blood pressure, and taking proactive measures to reduce these risks, can save your life. Obesity, alcohol abuse, nicotine use, and genetics can all contribute to your risk for developing high blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen and losing weight are important first steps towards controlling your blood pressure. A weight loss center near Chattanooga can help you find the best weight loss program for you.

Genetic Risks
High blood pressure typically runs in families. If you know that you have a family history of high blood pressure, you should begin trying to lower your risk as early as possible. You can do this by lowering the risk factors that you do have control over, like diet, exercise, weight loss, and alcohol and nicotine use. You should also get your blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor.

Lifestyle Risks
A sedentary lifestyle greatly contributes to your risk of developing high blood pressure, as well as cardiac disease and stroke. A poor diet high in calories and low in nutrients can cause obesity. Obesity puts stress on your heart and increases your chances of high blood pressure. Losing weight, even as little as 10 to 20 pounds, can lower your risk. Regular use of alcohol and nicotine can also dramatically elevate your blood pressure. Weight loss, combined with a healthy diet, exercise, and consuming alcohol in moderation, will lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk of a heart attack or a stroke.

Age, Gender, and Race
As you get older, your chances of developing health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiac disease increases. Losing weight and maintaining an active lifestyle can also be more difficult as you age. High blood pressure is more common in men up to age 45, and more common in women after age 65. High blood pressure occurs most often, and at an earlier age, in African Americans than in other races.

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