What are the causes of high blood pressure?
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you’ll want to know more about what causes it. This can help you to avoid any triggers which could elevate your blood pressure, and guide any lifestyle changes, which can help avoid long-term or serious health problems.
In this guide, we’ve put together some information on the common causes of high blood pressure, along with the reasons for sudden variations in blood pressure. You may also find it helpful to read our introduction to blood pressure guide first.
Is high blood pressure hereditary?
It’s not always clear exactly what causes high blood pressure (hypertension) in a particular person, and it can be the case that there are multiple contributing factors at play.
According to the NHS, having a relative who also has high blood pressure can increase your risk of experiencing the condition yourself. This means that there potentially is a genetic or hereditary element to high blood pressure.
Other things that can increase your chances of having high blood pressure include:
- Being overweight
- A diet that is high in salt and low in fruit and vegetables
- Drinking too much alcohol, coffee or caffeine-based drinks
- Having too much stress in your life
- Being over the age of 65
- Being of black Caribbean or black African descent
- Living in a deprived area.
There are also some underlying health conditions that can cause high blood pressure. These include diabetes, kidney disease and kidney infections, sleep apnoea, hormone problems (such as an underactive or overactive thyroid) and lupus.
Certain medications can also cause high blood pressure, such as steroids, the contraceptive pill, and some recreational drugs.
Is blood pressure higher in the morning?
Blood pressure tends to fluctuate quite a bit throughout the day. Therefore, it could very well be higher in the morning or the evening on some days. This is why it’s often necessary to have multiple blood pressure checks at different times of day, so healthcare professionals can get a more accurate average reading.
Other factors that can cause your blood pressure to increase include anxiety or stress about something specific. This can even be related to having your blood pressure checked in the first place. For example, you might be worried about an upcoming doctor’s appointment, and this causes an increase in your blood pressure.
Exercise can play a part: you could have a higher-than-normal blood pressure reading if you’ve been rushing to get to your appointment, or following a sudden burst of exercise.
Your GP can refer you to the pharmacy to wear a 24-hour blood pressure monitor which takes readings throughout the day. This is known as ambulatory blood pressure monitoring or ABPM. For more information speak to your local Day Lewis Pharmacy.
What can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure?
Blood pressure can also spike suddenly for a few different reasons. Caffeine can cause a temporary uplift in your blood pressure, as can taking certain medications. Temporary hypertension can also occur in pregnancy.
If you’re worried about your blood pressure, it’s always a good idea to speak to a healthcare professional. As well as being a risk to your health, high blood pressure could also be a sign of other serious underlying health conditions.