Surprising High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

Worried about stroke risk? Here’s some important news on high blood pressure risk factors. Keeping your blood pressure numbers under control is one of the best things you can do to bring down your risk of dangerous, debilitating stroke, still the fourth leading cause of death in America.

Amazing that even today, estimates suggest that every 40 seconds someone in the United States suffers a stroke. Building awareness of this often overlooked danger is the mission of the American Heat Association and American Stroke Association, and why they dubbed May 2012 American Stroke Month.

The concern for doctors is that many of us don’t realize we’re at risk for high blood pressure and stroke. Usually without any outward symptoms, high blood pressure does damage to the critical organs of your body silently, over time.

Here are the major things that put you at risk for high blood pressure, three that you cannot change…

- Family history – if you have a parent or close blood relative with high blood pressure, you’re at risk. You can pass this risk to your own children. You should try to learn all you can about your family medical history so that you’re aware of your own risks for diseases. Also, regular blood pressure checks help you know where you stand.

- Getting older - as the years pass we are all at higher risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. This happens because blood vessels naturally lose their flexibility with age, and this causes more pressure to be put on the cardiovascular system as a whole.

- Your gender - men are more likely to have high blood pressure numbers until age 45, between 45 to 50 and then again from 55 to 64 years, the risk for hypertension is almost the same for both sexes. After age 64, women become the more likely to have high blood pressure than men of the same age.

And others that, thankfully, you can do something about…

- Inactivity - too much sitting (at your desk or couch) ups your risk of high blood pressure and gaining weight. Getting regular exercise (moderate to vigorously intense), as many days of the week as you can, is a natural, side effect free way to strengthen your body and bring blood pressure numbers in line. Being active is good for both your heart and circulation.

Continues below…

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Stroke News: Surprising Dangerous High Blood Pressure Risks… Continued…

- Too much salt – salt keeps extra fluid in the body, which can add to the burden already placed on the heart and thus increasing the risk of high blood pressure. A diet that’s full of essential nutrients that come from a variety of foods is best. Experts recommend that adults keep sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams a day.

- Too much alcohol - drinking heavily and regularly can bring a dramatic rise in blood pressure and also be the cause of dangerous heart failure, devastating stroke and even irregular heartbeat. If you do drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than one drink a day for women, two a day for men.

- Being overweight/obese - is a strain to many body systems – just imagine the effort required by your heart to pump blood through all that fat and you can see why being too heavy is a problem. If your BMI falls between 25.0 and 30.0 you are carrying too much weight and need to lose. The good news? Even a small weight loss of 10 or 20 pounds can bring a significant improvement in blood pressure readings.

By doing what you can to reduce your high blood pressure risk factors, you do the best thing possible to cut your risk of having a stroke and bringing those serious, lasting consequences into your life and the lives of those you love.