Causes of Hypertension

Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause or exacerbate hypertension. For example, corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs increase blood pressure in most solid-organ transplant recipients. Medication taken for pain and inflammation such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors may raise blood pressure since their antiprostaglandin properties affect the kidneys.

over-the-counter: available without a prescription drugs: substances whose administration causes a significant change in the body's function chronic: over a long period acute: rapid-onset and short-lived tolerance: development of a need for increased amount of drug to obtain a given level of intoxication fatty acids: molecules rich in carbon and hydrogen; a component of fats cardiovascular: related to the heart and circulatory system calcium: mineral essential for bones and teeth

Tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco) contain nicotine, which temporarily increases blood pressure (for about thirty minutes or less). The blood pressure of smokers should be rechecked after thirty minutes if initial readings are high. Nicotine patches that are used for smoking cessation do not appear to increase blood pressure.

There does not appear to be a direct relationship between caffeine and chronic hypertension, even though caffeine intake can cause an acute (rapid but brief) increase in blood pressure. This may be due to the fact that tolerance to caffeine develops rapidly.

Chronic overuse of alcohol is a potentially reversible cause of hypertension. Five percent of hypertension is due to alcohol consumption and 30 to 60 percent of alcoholics have hypertension. Alcohol-induced hypertension is more likely to occur in women than men.

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