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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a very serious condition that affects the blood flow to and from the main arteries from the heart.

According to the American Heart Association, one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, the rate is higher in African Americans. People who suffer from high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease, kidney disease and renal failure. Sufferers are also at a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Known as the “silent killer,” high blood pressure, has no symptoms but is easy to diagnose by your doctor. While there are no symptoms, there are causes. See the list below to see if you fall in the high risk category and make sure to get your blood pressure checked regularly and consult a doctor if it is high. High blood pressure registers at 130/80 or higher.

Causes of high blood pressure:

Genetics – Family history plays a major roll in the likely hood of developing high blood pressure. Just as hair color, height and eye color runs in families so does high blood pressure. While you can’t control your heredity you can take steps to lead a healthy lifestyle that will cut down on your chances of developing hypertension.

Poor Diet – Salty and fatty foods, specifically those that contain high concentration of saturated fats are major contributors to hypertension.

Obesity – People who are overweight have a higher rate of high blood pressure.

Lack of physical activity – Excersize helps the heart in many ways and conversly an inactive lifestyle can lead to high blood pressure.

Age – As people get older their risk of developing hypertension increases.

Stress – People who reported high levels of stress were more likely to have high blood pressure.

Drinking too much alcohol – Anything more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women can lead to high blood pressure.

Smoking and second-hand smoke – Smoking temporarily increases blood pressure and can damage arteries. Even second-hand smoke increases the risk of heart disease and hypertension.

Take this quiz from the American Heart Association to see if you are at risk for high blood pressure.

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