Hypertension/High Blood Pressure


Is very common in North American adults 18 and over and becomes extremely common as people age. According to CDC sources (Hypertension Prevalence Among Adults Aged 18 and Over…2017–2018)¹ high blood pressure affects:

  • 74.5% of people over age 60 (men and women)
  • 54.5% of those aged 40-59 (men and women)
  • 31.2% of men 18-39

In a hypertensive person, the force of blood through the blood vessels is consistently high. Often called the “silent killer,” high blood pressure generally has no symptoms but is one of the leading causes of heart attack and stroke. Although commonly thought of as a disease by the general public, hypertension is simply your body responding to various stimuli that cause the blood vessels to constrict. In other words, high blood pressure is not a disease in istelf, rather a physiologic response to insults. Lifestyle measures to reduce and/or reverse high blood pressure are valuable and can reduce or eliminate the need for medication.


What Raises Blood Pressure?

Anything that causes blood vessels to constrict will increase blood pressure, such as:

  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep apnea, and many other things

Lifestyle, dietry and environmental factors have a strong effect on blood pressure and should be examined in anyone with high blood pressure. For an in depth discussion of lifestyle factors that could be increasing your blood pressure, check out my blog post on this topic.


Image showing root causes of hypertension or high blood pressure


Proper blood pressure measuring technique is needed for an accurate reading

  • Have both feet on the ground with arm supported at heart level
  • Sitting for at least 5 min (ideally) in a warm and relaxing setting
  • Empty bladder
  • No caffeine (1 hour prior)
  • No exercise (30 min prior)
  • Automatic blood pressure readings (the machine) are often higher than manually taken readings (done by hand). If you have high blood pressure readings, it it important that your pressure be retaken with a manual blood presure cuff.
  • Most important of all – Blood pressure cuff size needs to be correct for your arm circumference – a standard cuff used on a large person will generate articifally high blood pressure readings.


¹ Ostchega, Yechiam, et al. “Hypertension prevalence among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2017–2018.” (2020).