Although the exact cause of high blood pressure is almost always unknown, many different things can influence it. For example, your blood pressure is effected by what you eat, how much water and blood are in your body, and salt intake. Blood pressure is also influenced by the health of your kidneys and by certain hormones circulating in the body.
When the cause is NOT known
The term "essential" hypertension is used when the exact cause cannot be determined. Essential hypertension cannot be cured, but in most cases it can be controlled with lifestyle changes and medication.
Certain medications can also cause high blood pressure as a side effect. Make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of the medications you take.
Review Date: June 3, 2003
Reviewed By: Jacqueline A. Hart, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine,
Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard University and Senior Medical Editor,
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