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High Blood Pressure - Cause

Experts know that many things are linked to high blood pressure. But experts still don't fully understand the exact cause. Things that are linked to high blood pressure include:

  • Aging.
  • Drinking more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day for men or more than 1 alcoholic drink a day for women.
  • Eating a lot of sodium (salt).
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Not exercising.
  • Being under a lot of stress.
  • Eating a diet low in potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
  • Being insulin-resistant.

Primary, or essential, high blood pressure is the most common type of high blood pressure. Most people who have high blood pressure have primary high blood pressure.

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Know Your Blood Pressure Numbers

Often wonder what the top and the bottom blood pressure numbers mean? Doctors call them systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure. Knowing both your systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers is important and could save your life.   

Read the Know Your Blood Pressure Numbers article > >

Secondary high blood pressure, which is caused by another disease or medicine, is less common.

Elevated blood pressure readings may not always mean that you have high blood pressure. For some people, just being in a medical setting causes their blood pressure to rise. This is called white-coat hypertension.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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