High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a prevalent condition among American adults. Hypertension occurs when blood pressure remains elevated, changing the structure and function of the blood vessels. It is estimated that about 67 million Americans have elevated blood pressure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hypertension wreaks havoc on the vital organs of the body and can cause a variety of side effects, from blindness to kidney disease. Since it can also damage the arteries in the brain, hypertension also happens to one of the most common causes of stroke in the United States.
According to the American Heart Association, there is no one identifiable cause of hypertension – it is usually caused by a combination of factors. These include, among others: excess weight, low activity levels, tobacco use, stress, hormonal disorders or family history.
Since hypertension is a disease primarily caused by lifestyle choices, positive changes can help bring those high numbers under control.