Several underlying causative factors have been well-studied regarding their effects on blood pressure.
While most of us know that being over weight or obese, smoking, or eating a diet of processed foods high in sodium, fructose, and other chemical additives contributes to hypertension, there are some other less obvious—but highly significant—
factors that can lead to hypertension. Even if you don’t smoke, eat a bad diet or are over weight.
Let’s dive into some of those other factors.
One of the biggest factors in chronic disease that we have seen emerge is inflammation.
Inflammation has been tied to most all serious and chronic diseases, including: cancer, obesity, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, heart disease, arthritis, and many more. Inflammation is the body’s response to an invader, or an irritant. Inflammation can include redness, pain, irritation, and an activated immune system. Chronic inflammation, however is not a good thing. A diet high in sugar and processed food scan cause chronic inflammation in the blood vessels, which then can be the beginning of heart disease, as our bodies lay down deposits of cholesterol in an attempt to soothe the injured areas in our blood vessels.
Recent scientific studies have shown that low-grade chronic inflammation seems to happen just prior to the on set of what is commonly called ‘essential’ hypertension. Around 90% of hypertension cases are classified as ‘essential’ hypertension—meaning the precise cause is unknown. Hypertension is associated with inflammation; however, whether inflammation is a cause or effect of hypertension is not well understood.
An area of particular scientific interest revolves around the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a very common inflammatory marker in blood vessels and serves as an important measurement for heart disease risk. This study, which showed that subjects with a CRP of greater than 3mg/l were at an increased risk of developing hypertension, compared to those subjects with a CRP of less than 1mg/l. These findings add to the growing body of scientific evidence that shows inflammation plays an important role in the development of heart disease, and now potentially, hypertension. Information from previous studies seem to show that elevated levels of CRP in the blood can degrade the blood vessels walls, causing them to be more rigid, and to not function correctly.
This creates higher blood pressure levels, which in turn can lead to more advanced heart disease. Other recent studies also show that the presence of chronic, low grade inflammation can actually predict the development of high blood pressure.