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What Causes Hypertension? Should I Care?

Hypertension is a condition where the long-term force of blood against artery walls is high enough to eventually lead to heart disease, stroke, or death. Unmanaged hypertension and heart disease are rising global health issues impacting 85 million Americans.1  Hypertension is referred to as the “silent killer” because there are often no warning signs and many people don’t know they have it. This is why regularly checking one’s blood pressure is important. Hypertension is impossible to combat if you don’t understand the factors that contribute to it.

Illustration of a heart and valves with a "Low-Normal-High" meter attached.

In 1 in 20 cases, hypertension occurs as the result of an underlying medical condition or medication. Some conditions that can cause high blood pressure are kidney disease, diabetes, lupus, long-term kidney infections, Cushing syndrome, and hormone problems. Risk factors like obesity, heavy alcohol and tobacco use, physical inactivity, a salt-rich and low potassium diet can also increase your chances of having hypertension.

Blood pressure is best regulated through a balanced diet before it reaches the stage of hypertension. But there are treatment options, like lifestyle changes, that can address high blood pressure.

  • Get active – Get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week.
  • Eat the rainbow – Healthy nutrient-rich, low-sodium, high-potassium meals.
  • No puffing – Smoking cigarettes raises your blood pressure, putting you at risk. Call the Alaska QuitLine for help at 1-800-784-8669.
  • Limit Alcohol – Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day, women no more than 1.2


  1. Everything You Need To Know About Hypertension, Medical News Today.
    Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150109.php
  2. Preventing High Blood Pressure: Healthy Living Habits. CDC
    Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp

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