What affects blood pressure

High blood pressure: causes & risk factors

If there is high blood pressure without any other underlying diseases, it is referred to as primary or essential hypertension. Various factors can promote the development of this most common form of hypertension. Causes that cannot be influenced, such as hereditary components, i.e. a family history (disposition), play a role here. It has been proven that hypertension occurs more frequently when parents, siblings, aunt or uncles are affected. The blood pressure (especially the upper = systolic value) also rises with increasing age, since the elasticity of the vessel walls decreases.

But influenceable factors, especially with regard to lifestyle, can contribute to the development of essential hypertension. Which includes:

  • Overweight (body mass index: BMI> 25) (see BMI calculator)
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • too little physical exercise
  • increased consumption of table salt
  • increased alcohol consumption
  • Smoke
  • Long-term stress
  • Sleep apnea syndrome

With regard to the risk factor "obesity", the fat distribution in the body is of great importance. The risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes increases with increasing waist circumference ("apple type"). A lot of fat in the abdomen is associated with increased levels of free fatty acids and blood sugar as well as decreased insulin sensitivity. The waist circumference should be less than 80 centimeters for women and less than 94 centimeters for men. With waist measurements over 88 in women and 102 centimeters in men, the risk of cardiovascular diseases is greatly increased. If you measure the ratio between waist and hip circumference, this value should be below 1.0 for men and below 0.85 for women.
Secondary hypertension, i.e. increased blood pressure that occurs as a result of another disease, occurs in up to 15% of hypertensive patients. The most common causes are kidney diseases (narrowing of the renal arteries or chronic kidney disease), hormonal disorders (e.g. during pregnancy: high pregnancy pressure), due to an overactive thyroid or a disease of the adrenal cortex and as a possible consequence of taking certain medications such as pill or cortisone / Glucocorticoids), sleep apnea syndrome and congenital narrowing of the main artery (aorta).