What causes hypertension? About 10 percent of all cases are due to kidney or adrenal disease, but the remaining 90 percent have no definitely known cause. There are however, some factors that may contribute to high blood pressure.
- Atherosclerosis (narrowing of blood vessels by cholesterol build-up) is also thought to be a factor in hypertension. If this proves to be true, avoiding excessive fat and cholesterol in our diets would be a great help.
- Estrogen, a female hormone found in birth control pills or given for menopause, causes the body to retain salt, and has the same effect as consuming too much salt.
- Some people are more sensitive to salt than others. In fact, the sodium in salt may actually be the number one cause of hypertension. A study shows that those people consuming very little salt, like Eskimos, new guinea and Solomon island tribes, Australian aborigines, have no incidence of high blood pressure. Northern Japanese farmers preserve their food with salt and eat an average of 30 grams of salt per day. Sixty percent of these farmers have hypertension, and strokes are the most common cause of death among them. This does not mean that salt should be eliminated from the diet entirely. Salt is vital to health, but our bodies need only 0.2 grams of sodium per day. If we cut our salt intake to one teaspoonful of salt per day, including those used in preparation of food, we could solve one of the biggest health problems. Individuals with hypertension would have to cut salt even more.
- Obesity may also contribute to hypertension. Every pound of fat requires thousands of extra blood vessels. These in turn require a higher blood pressure to circulate blood through them. It is any wonder, then, that obese people are five times more likely to have hypertension? Anyone who is more than 20 percent overweight is considered obese.
- Stress can cause hypertension, whether it be social stress, noise stress, or work stress. All of these may increase hypertension.
- Over consumption of refined sugar a possible contributing factor in persons with decrease kidney function is associated with the aging process.