Age, race, family history, weight, diet and habits can all play a role in the development of the condition, but the most common cause is the buildup of arterial plaque cause by a high-fat and high-sodium diet.
Other causes include(4):
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Kidney problems
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Thyroid problems
- Certain defects in blood vessels you’re born with (congenital)
- Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
- Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines
- Alcohol abuse or chronic alcohol use
Over time, hypertension can lead to serious medical conditions such as (5) :
- chronic heart failure
- metabolic syndrome
- eye problems
- heart attack
- memory issues
Early Warning Signs of Hypertension
Often times, people with high blood pressure experience no clear-cut symptoms until the condition has reached a severe or life-threatening stage, even when their blood pressure readings reach excessively high levels.
Unfortunately, the most common symptoms are easily mistaken from other conditions and just plain aging. These include:
- chest pains
- irregular heartbeat
- vision issues
- ear buzzing
More obvious symptoms, like headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping and facial flushing, can actually indicate hypertensive crisis, a severe and sometimes fatal manifestation of the disease (6).