Q6. What causes high blood pressure?

A6 . It is important to distinguish between ‘primary high blood pressure’ and ‘secondary high blood pressure’.

It is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of primary high blood pressure but it appears to be caused by a range of lifestyle factors such as:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Poor diet (high fat, high salt)
  • Lack of exercise
  • Ethnicity, e.g. Afro-Caribbean or Asian
  • Age
  • Plus diabetes and kidney disease

Then there is secondary high blood pressure which is caused by an underlying health problem or external factor which includes:

  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Autoimmune system disorder e.g. lupus
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Recreational drugs, e.g. cocaine

These and many others are discussed further in our types of high blood pressure section.

FAQS Index : Guide to High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure FAQs

    Blood pressure

  1. What is blood pressure?
  2. Why is it so important?
  3. What is normal blood pressure?
  4. What is high blood pressure?
  5. What is low blood pressure?
  6. High blood pressure

  7. What causes high blood pressure?
  8. Can anyone get high blood pressure?
  9. How do I know if I have got high blood pressure?
  10. Why do older people get high blood pressure?
  11. Can kids get high blood pressure?
  12. Can teenagers develop high blood pressure?
  13. What are the signs of high blood pressure?
  14. High blood pressure runs in my family: am I likely to develop it?
  15. Why does too much salt cause high blood pressure?
  16. Why is high blood pressure such a problem?
  17. What is the link between high blood pressure and diabetes?

    Diagnosing high blood pressure

  1. How often should I have my blood pressure checked?
  2. What is the ‘white coat effect?’
  3. Is there more than one test for high blood pressure?
  4. What is home blood pressure monitoring?
  5. What is 24 hour ambulatory monitoring?

    Women and high blood pressure

  1. Can women get high blood pressure?
  2. Does taking ‘the pill’ cause high blood pressure?
  3. Does being pregnant increase my chance of high blood pressure?
  4. What is ‘pre-eclampsia?’
  5. Does HRT cause high blood pressure?

    Treatment for high blood pressure

  1. How do you treat high blood pressure?
  2. What lifestyle changes will I have to make?
  3. What types of blood pressure medication are there?
  4. Why do some blood pressure medications work better for different ethnicities?
  5. Can I prevent high blood pressure?

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