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What Causes High Blood Pressure, and the Amazing 'Hoff' Crab

what causes high blood pressure

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We’re probably all familiar with the term ‘sneaky’ and what it means if something or someone has that adjective attached to it or them. When it comes to high blood pressure – or hypertension as it’s also called – it really is a bit of a ‘sneaky’ harmful health condition because often people who are at risk because of it having no idea their blood pressure is as high as it is. There are symptoms, but it’s fairly easy to dismiss them as being caused by less serious and more everyday health conditions. It’s for this reason that it’s likely better to know what causes high blood pressure and then avoid this ‘sneaky’ health risk.

Once you’re aware of what can cause high blood pressure, the good news is that it’s really not especially difficult to avoid it. A few lifestyle changes and smarter decisions may be in order, but outside of that you’re not going to need to turn your life upside down. And of course, there’s then a whole collection of secondary health benefits that will come along with what you’ve done to get your blood pressure down.

So, let’s take a detailed look at what causes high blood pressure here, as well as sharing some very straightforward approaches for what men and women can do to get back into the healthy range. And considering that this isn’t the most engrossing of subjects ever, we thought we might liven it up a bit with information about hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.

And while we’re talking about pressure, these are some of the highest-pressure environments on earth, and the hydrothermal vent crab is one amazing creature, and not just because it’s nicknamed after well-known TV actor David Hasselhoff.

Contributors to High Blood Pressure

A brief overview of what exactly is blood pressure might be in order here. It’s the combination of how much pressure is exerted on the walls of your arteries while your heart beats, and then while it’s at rest between beats. Too little pressure is no good in the same way that too much of it is no good. You’re ideally somewhere right in the middle, and that’s somewhere around 120 over 80.

The 120 being the measure of systolic blood pressure (during beat), and the 80 being diastolic (between heartbeat) pressure. But that’s enough of the technical aspects of all of this, we said we’d discuss what causes high blood pressure and that’s what we’ll set straight to doing.

The main causes of high blood pressure are:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not enough regular physical activity
  • Too much salt in diet
  • Too much alcohol consumption (working out too anything more than 1-2 drinks per day)
  • Stress
  • Advanced age
  • Genetics
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders
  • Sleep apnea

As far as genetics is concerned, it’s important to point out that men are more likely than women to have high blood pressure, and that people of African-American descent are twice as likely to develop it as people of other racial backgrounds.

An Exception

However, for some people asking, ‘what causes high blood pressure’, and more specifically ‘what’s causing MY high blood pressure’ isn’t such a straightforward thing. Now if we were to say here that there are people who develop high blood pressure without having any of the factors listed above, you’d probably think we’re talking about a few cases here and there.

Nope, not even close. Essential hypertension is the term for when a person has high blood pressure but there’s no identifiable causes for it. And that cover as much as 95% of the cases of it in America! Some might think that’s reason enough to ignore the warnings against certain lifestyle choices, but it shouldn’t be.

If you only take one pointer from all of this regarding the development of essential hypertension, however, it should be to not ingest and excessive amount of salt with your diet.

Secondary Hypertension

This is the term used for when you can put your finger on what causes high blood pressure for a person. By this we mean a direct cause, and not a development from any of the collective factor we have in the list above. To put that in more understandable terms, it’s more of a ‘you have hypertension because you have ____’ as compared to ‘you have high blood pressure because you’re overweight, over 50, and you live too sedentary a lifestyle.’

So, what causes high blood pressure here most commonly is kidney disease (the leading cause for secondary hypertension), and adrenal gland function abnormalities.

One more to add to the list of what causes high blood pressure… the long-term use of birth control medication.

Amazing Crustacean

Having your blood pressure at an extreme isn’t a good thing, and in general having any type of pressure at an extreme isn’t where you want it to be. But for hydrothermal vent crabs (aka ‘Hoff’ crabs after David Hasselhoff and his hairy chest – seriously, click the link!) extreme pressure is essential for their very existence! Hydrothermal vents are structures at the bottom of the ocean with extreme heat and pressure. The organisms that live there are known as ‘extremophiles’, and in an environment with extreme heat and acidity that would kills most organism you’d find in the sea these animals actually thrive.

The hydrothermal vent crabs are the top predators found in these brutally inhospitable underwater environments, and what’s amazing is that unless their put under approximately 250 times more atmospheric pressure than other life forms on the planet – above or below the sea surface – they’ll actually die.

Why is that? Well if they’re not exposed to this extreme heat and pressure their hearts actually experience hypoxia – or oxygen deficiency in more non-scientific words. No crushing extreme of pressure = no life for these crabs.

Crazy stuff! So, while extremes of pressure in the arteries of your body are bad for your heart, extreme atmospheric pressure is absolutely essential for the life of the ‘Hoff’ crab!

Back to What Causes High Blood Pressure

Now that you know what can cause high blood pressure, it becomes more about taking steps to reduce your risk. Everyone likes to eat, so how about eating yourself to better blood pressure? Here’s 13 food that lower blood pressure:

  • Leafy greens
  • Berries
  • Red beets
  • Skim milk and yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Fish high in Omega 3s (salmon, mackerel and more)
  • Seeds
  • Garlic and herbs
  • Dark chocolate
  • Pistachios
  • Olive oil
  • Pomegranates

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for your pet. See your veterinarian for medical advice and treatment for your pet if you have any concerns.

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