What Are the Causes of High Blood Pressure in Young People?
The causes of high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, in young people are considered either primary or secondary. Primary hypertension is defined as high blood pressure that has no known cause. This type of high blood pressure can also be caused by lifestyle issues such as smoking, drinking and poor diet. Secondary hypertension is defined as a type of high blood pressure that has an identifiable underlying cause.
Diet and Exercise
A poor diet and lack of exercise is a primary cause of high blood pressure in young people. Young people who live a sedentary lifestyle and eat a lot of high fat, high salt and high sugar foods are at risk for developing high blood pressure. Young people with these habits who have high blood pressure can often normalize their blood pressure by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.
Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use
Regularly smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs is a primary cause of high blood pressure in young people. These habits can also cause a wide range of other health conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver and certain cancers. Young people with high blood pressure who regularly smoke, drink or use drugs can often normalize their blood pressure by giving up these habits.
Being overweight is a primary cause of high blood pressure in young people. This occurs because the excess body mass causes your body’s tissues to need more blood to supply the tissues with nutrients and oxygen. Young people with high blood pressure who are overweight can often normalize their blood pressure by losing weight.
Sleep apnea is a secondary cause of high blood pressure in young people. Sleep apnea is most often caused by certain central nervous system disorders, obstruction of the airways and obesity. Those with sleep apnea stop breathing when they are sleeping for short periods of time (approximately 10-30 seconds). When the cause of sleep apnea is being properly treated, your high blood pressure may decrease as well.
Hyperthyroidism is a secondary cause of high blood pressure in young people. Hyperthyroidism causes an increase in a person’s blood volume, causes their blood vessels to constrict and causes increased cardiac activity in their body. People with this condition often notice that their high blood pressure begins to normalize once their hyperthyroidism is being properly treated.