Although high blood pressure has been linked to some types of cancer, it is not necessarily a direct cause. Certain cancers tend to be related to high blood pressure more than others.
Research has shown that death from cancer tends to be higher in those with high blood pressure, which is cause for concern. Because high blood pressure is a risk indicator for many diseases and conditions, doing what you can to keep it within normal ranges will help keep you healthy in many ways. However, taking medication to control blood pressure may cause more harm than good.
How is high blood pressure related to cancer?
Just because you have high blood pressure does not meant that you will necessarily get cancer. There is some evidence that having high blood pressure may increase your chances of certain cancers, however.
PubMed Health reports that men who have high blood pressure may have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Research has shown that those with the highest blood pressure had a greater risk of dying from the cancer compared to those with low high blood pressure.
In the same study, increases in blood pressure showed a resulting increase in a number of cancers such as prostate, bowel, lung, skin, and kidney cancers. Men seemed to have a bigger risk of developing cancer than women did, even though they also had high blood pressure.
Can medications for high blood pressure cause cancer?
It may seem like a Catch-22, but many doctors prescribe high blood pressure medications to lower blood pressure, yet some of the medications have been shown to possibly cause cancer itself.
The Lancet published an article that suggests that certain drug types used for individuals with high blood pressure may actually increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Although more research needs to be done, it is a warning sign for those considering taking high blood pressure medication.
Although medication may be necessary for some high-risk individuals, there are other ways that you can lower your blood pressure, and most of them do not have the dangerous side effects that some of the high blood pressure medications have.
What are other risks of high blood pressure?
Cancer is only one of the concerns if you have high blood pressure, as it is a risk factor for many other health conditions as well. The two leading causes of death in America are stroke and heart attack, and high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks of both, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Other diseases in which high blood pressure is a major risk factor are kidney disease and congestive heart failure. The scary thing about high blood pressure is that there are no symptoms of it until something major happens, such as a heart attack. That is why you should have your pressure checked regularly, especially if you have some of the risk factors that are associated with it.
How can you lower blood pressure?
Because high blood pressure is a cause of many conditions and diseases, it is important to keep it at a manageable level. You should be aware of the risk factors and do what you can to keep your blood pressure within a normal range.
There are certain known risk factors for high blood pressure, according to WebMD. These include smoking, stress, lack of exercise, being overweight, having a high salt intake, having a high level of alcohol consumption, pregnancy, genetics, old age, family history, being of African-American descent, having kidney disease, using birth control pills, and having disorders of the thyroid and adrenals.
People who smoke are at a high risk level for developing high blood pressure, not to mention a host of other diseases and cancers. Not smoking or working on quitting is one of the best things you can do to keep your blood pressure low.
Staying active will help you manage your blood pressure, which doesn’t mean that you have to be a gym buff. Anything that you enjoy doing, inside or out, that increases your heart rate will lower your risk for high blood pressure, according to the American Council on Exercise.
What you eat will affect your blood pressure levels. Salt-laden and fatty foods will increase it, while fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein sources will help keep it low. The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition reports that high blood pressure is becoming more prevalent in the younger generation because of their unhealthy eating behaviors.
Exercising and eating healthy will help to contribute to a healthy weight, which is another factor in combating high blood pressure. Lowering your alcohol consumption will help lower blood pressure. If you are a female you should not have more than one drink a day and two drinks daily for males should be the limit.
Cancer may or may not be caused by high blood pressure but keeping it low is imperative to prevent other diseases. Work with your healthcare provider to figure out the best way to keep your blood pressure in check.