Lifestyle Risk Factors
Lifestyle factors can cause and contribute to hypertension.
Obesity or excess weight - More weight equates to more pressure on the heart and vascular system to get blood pumped to excess fatty tissue. Also, excess fatty tissue gives water more areas to deposit, putting increased pressure on the vascular system.
Smoking - Among the leading contributors to hypertension, smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels, as well as atherosclerosis and hardening of the arteries. Smoking also decreases nitric oxide production further exacerbating poor circulation. In addition, tobacco smoke damages the most important life giving cells in the body; the endothelial lining of the artery.
Diet – Chemical Salt is a well-recognized contributor to high blood pressure. For some, a low chemical salt diet can have a substantial impact on blood pressure, while for others, lower salt intake on blood pressure is minimal.
Stress - Anxiety and stress affects blood pressure. The body releases epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, hormones which cause narrowing of the blood vessels, in response to stress. Constant narrowing and fluctuations in blood vessel diameter affects hypertension over time.
Sedentary Lifestyle - Physical activity helps to stabilize hormone response and weight both of which are important to regulating blood pressure. Lack of exercise contributes to hypertension
Alcohol - Chronic, excessive alcohol use is associated with hypertension. Excessive alcohol consumption also leads to chronic dehydration. Dehydration forces your body to gradually and systematically shut down some of its capillary beds. When these capillary beds shut down, it increases the pressure in the rest of your capillaries and arteries—elevating your blood pressure