Kettering Health | Strive | Spring 2023

• Lack of physical activity • Poor diet, especially one that’s high in sodium Family history also plays a role. “I see patients in their 30s with high blood pressure,” says Dr. Abdelrahman. “A genetic predisposition, combined with unhealthy choices, can cause hypertension even at younger ages.” Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, refers to cases with a known cause. Conditions impacting the kidneys, adrenal system, and thyroid all can cause chronic high blood pressure. Sleep apnea and medications like antidepressants, decongestants, and birth control can also trigger high blood pressure in some patients. How is hypertension treated? The degree of blood pressure elevation usually determines whether medications are necessary. Dr. Abdelrahman says providers consider how high the blood pressure reading is and what other diseases or medical conditions the patient has. “But treatment options always start with lifestyle modifications,” Dr. Abdelrahman says. “A lot of patients underestimate how their daily habits can have an impact in reducing blood pressure. Even for patients who are on multiple medications, lifestyle adjustments can help them get off some of the medications.” He advises patients to quit smoking and to walk for 30 minutes at least five times per week. He also recommends maintaining a diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats, as well as limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium. Care you can count on Kettering Health is a nationally recognized leader in helping patients control blood pressure rates. The American Heart Association and American Medical Association recently honored Kettering Health Medical Group as part of its Target: BP initiative. The program focuses on helping healthcare systems prioritize hypertension control to reduce heart attacks and strokes. 11