While the exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, your chances of developing high blood pressure may be increased if you have a family history of high blood pressure, are overweight, are African American, have a high sodium diet (i.e., use a lot of table salt or eat a lot of packaged and fast foods) or drink large amounts of alcohol. The tendency for developing high blood pressure increases with age, but there are many lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure. Sometimes lifestyle modifications may not be enough to control high blood pressure which is why it is important to follow your doctor's advice concerning your treatment and to take all the medicines prescribed for you. For more information, please read the article on High Blood Pressure and Your Kidneys and visit the National Kidney Foundation’s website here to learn more about blood pressure and your kidneys.
True or False: High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease.
Controlling high blood pressure reduces the chances of developing these complications and reduces the overall damage that high blood pressure can have on your organs. Have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. Talk to your physician about what your blood pressure goals should be and discuss monitoring your blood pressure more frequently if you are at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure. Patient awareness is an important part of controlling high blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding making lifestyle changes and taking prescription medications. Remember that high blood pressure runs in families, so share this information with your family members to encourage them to have their high blood pressure checked. You can also ask friends and family to join you in maintaining a healthier lifestyle. It can be easier and more fun to eat healthy, exercise and quit smoking if you have the support of your family and you engage in these activities together. In turn, these changes can benefit the whole family.
For more information about high blood pressure, its treatments and the role of the family, please visit these links: