What Causes BP?

Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers: systolic pressure (the higher number) and diastolic pressure (the lower number), measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

Several factors contribute to blood pressure:

  1. Cardiac Output: This is the amount of blood pumped by the heart per minute. An increase in cardiac output can lead to higher blood pressure.
  2. Peripheral Resistance: The resistance that blood encounters as it flows through the blood vessels. Narrowed or constricted blood vessels can lead to increased resistance and higher blood pressure.
  3. Blood Volume: An increase in blood volume, often due to factors like excessive salt intake or certain medical conditions, can elevate blood pressure.
  4. Elasticity of Arteries: Healthy arteries can stretch and contract with each heartbeat, helping to regulate blood pressure. If the arteries lose their elasticity, blood pressure can rise.
  5. Hormones: Hormones like angiotensin, aldosterone, and adrenaline play roles in regulating blood pressure. Imbalances in these hormones can contribute to hypertension (high blood pressure).
  6. Kidney Function: The kidneys help regulate blood pressure by controlling the balance of salt and water in the body. Kidney dysfunction can lead to high blood pressure.
  7. Nervous System Activity: The autonomic nervous system helps control blood pressure. An overactive sympathetic nervous system can lead to increased blood pressure.
  8. Genetics: Family history can influence your risk of developing high blood pressure. Genetic factors can affect how your body regulates blood pressure.
  9. Age: Blood pressure tends to increase with age due to factors like arterial stiffness and hormonal changes.
  10. Lifestyle Factors: Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as a diet high in sodium, lack of physical activity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and chronic stress, can contribute to high blood pressure.
  11. Obesity: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
  12. Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, and sleep apnea can contribute to hypertension.
  13. Medications: Some medications, including certain decongestants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and birth control pills, can affect blood pressure.
  14. Pregnancy: Pregnancy-related conditions like preeclampsia can cause temporary increases in blood pressure.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a common condition that can increase the risk of serious health issues like heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems. Monitoring blood pressure regularly, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and working with a healthcare provider are important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. If you have concerns about your blood pressure, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for guidance and appropriate management.