Risk Factors and Causes of High Blood Pressure

The actual causes of hypertension in over 85-95% of the people suffering from the condition are unknown. The factors that contribute to the existence of this condition are referred to as primary hypertension or essential hypertension. The remaining percentage is linked with medical conditions which are referred to as secondary hypertension. A review of the history of the family, as well as the medical conditions of the affected person, indicates that these are part of the factors that lead to hypertension. There exist several risk factors associated with this condition as discussed in this article.

Family history as well as various medical conditions such as corticosteroids and various other hormonal contraceptives, hormonal disorders, hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s disease. If the underlying conditions are secondary then these conditions are first managed. Primary hypertension, on the other hand, indicates the factors that are hard to control that they tend to increase high blood pressure. The underlying factors include family history, ethnicity and age.

In family history, there is a high probability of a person being affected by hypertension if the parents are victims of the same case. This shows that the problem can be genetically inherited hence passed from one generation to the next. A family with a history of hypertension whose cause cannot be understood fully identified has siblings who become victims of the same condition later in life. However, if the condition arises from factors like obesity, smoking and taking alcohol that can easily be controlled, the future generations are not at risk of being affected by hypertension as long as they stay healthy and fit

Ethnicity refers to the situation where some people from African heritage, first nations and southern Asia are at a high risk of being affected. Statistics indicate that the due to unknown factors, the people from these regions report higher cases of hypertension than their counterparts from the other parts of the world. The high prevalence of the condition in these parts of the world can be associated with diet, genetics complexity and environmental factors among others. However, the real cause has not yet been established.

Age, on the other hand, refers to a situation where those that are above 55 years are at a greater risk of being victims of the condition. People at this age are mostly said to be less active which means that their body fitness is compromised. They at times suffer from obesity, heart complications, high blood sugar, a compromised immune system and deteriorating body response systems that may be associated with hypertension.


This is said to be one of the major causes of hypertension. Several people who smoke have been said to be victims of the condition at one point of their life unless if they quit and the body recovers. Smoking is associated with atherosclerosis which refers to the narrowing of blood vessels. The heart, on the other hand, does not slow down when the blood vessels decrease in size but continue to pump the blood at the usual rate. Due to the decreased size of the vessels, a lot of pressure is exerted in order to accommodate the blood volume that is being pumped from the heart. This in return leads to high blood pressure. This, however, can be controlled if the person quits smoking. With time, the body will recover hence the blood pressure is normalized.



The risk of suffering from this fatal condition also increases with the increase in the amounts of fats in the body system. It simply means that obese people are at a higher risk of suffering from hypertension than the others. In order to minimize the risk, taking a balanced diet and foods that do not contain a lot of fats leads to a healthier body. As it is known, obesity is at times associated with narrowing of blood vessels that in return means more pressure by the blood pumped from the heart. Doing exercises is one of the ways that one can avoid being obese.


A lot of research is being conducted to establish the main causes of hypertension. More research is also being conducted on the best medical measures to counter the condition and allow the victims to fully recover from it. However, if you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you should not wait until you get a stroke or a heart attack to be rushed to the hospital. It is necessary to consult a medical expert and decide on the best medication. Also, make sure that you avoid things like alcohol, smoking and less exercise to minimize the chances of exacerbating the condition.

Natural Ways Ofc Controlling Blood Pressure

If high blood pressure is not managed, its impacts on the individual’s health are fatal. Most people are by now well acquainted with the numerous cases of heart attack and stroke associated with high blood pressure around the world. In a nutshell, the condition is primarily a killer if not managed. When you are diagnosed with this condition, your doctor recommends a certain medication plan. However, there are various natural ways that have been proven to manage hypertension without taking drugs as it is discussed in this article.

Weight Reduction and Observing the Waistline

Research indicates that weight gain and increase in blood pressure are directly proportional. Moreover, having too much weight causes sleep apnea which is associated with a slogged blood pressure. Adopting a lifestyle that contributes to weight reduction hoards you from the gnawing effects of hypertension. Adopting this lifestyle doesn’t have to be abrupt. You can gradually follow the instructions provided and lose small amounts of weight as per the established timetable. This would result in a 1 mm Hg pressure loss in your blood per every 2.2 pounds of weight loss. Observe your waistline regularly since a weight size of 40 inches and above in men 35 inches and above increases the odds of having hypertension.

Regular Exercises

Physical fitness usually estranges one from numerous health issues. With hypertension being one of them, you can receive a blood pressure reduction of up to 8mm Hg by simply exercising for a maximum of 30 minutes every day. However, consistency is advised since the pressure may rise again if you cease to engage in the exercises. If you note that your blood pressure is elevated, physical exercises devise a natural avenue through which you can avoid hypertension. Depressing blood pressure for those who are already suffering from hypertension can be achieved through regular physical exercises. Exercises like dancing, swimming, cycling, jogging and walking among others are said to be biologically healthy, by being physically active, the excess calories that would have otherwise been stored in the body as fats are burnt.

Healthy Diet

A decline of 11 mm Hg of blood pressure can be achieved by taking foods with less cholesterol and saturated fats, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Observing and controlling your diet can make you achieve an imperative milestone in the management of hypertension. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension rely on the factor of being an audacious buyer like avoiding foods with a lot of sodium, raising the amount of potassium in your meals and keeping a food diary to track your eating habits. Through this, you can purchase only the healthy meals, scrutinize your eating behaviours and allow potassium to counter high blood pressure by lowering sodium effects.

Avoiding or Reducing Caffeine Intake

Research conducted on the effects of caffeine on blood pressure is still under scrutiny. However, it has been found that caffeine may or may not raise blood pressure in regular consumers. However, those who do not consume it regularly experience heightened blood pressure after taking caffeine. Its long-term effects are still not yet known but the highest probability is a slightly high blood pressure. A rise of between 5-10 mm Hg in the blood pressure of an individual after undergoing a test within 30 minutes of taking caffeine indicates sensitivity to the effects of caffeine in increasing blood pressure. It may be in the individual’s best interests to avoid caffeine if such a case is recorded.

Stress Management


Several factors may lead to chronic stress in someone’s life. In some incidences, high blood pressure has been associated with chronic stress hence raising the need to keep stress under management. However, you cannot manage stress without identifying its root cause. You need to look into your work life, financial factors, illnesses and family factors among other issues that may be the cause of stress. Make sure that you handle the stressing situation in the best way possible to avoid stress and future problems. Moreover, always being grateful to other people, having some personal time to engage in your hobbies and relax, avoiding the triggers of stress and focusing on the issues that you can manage and find solutions to help to reduce stress.


Regular checkups in blood pressure levels and asking for help from family members and friends in solving problems and living and healthy life is very beneficial. However, you need to always stay fit by engaging in physical exercises, observing and managing your diet, reducing weight, managing stress, avoiding caffeine, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake and reducing sodium intake to ensure that you do not become a victim of hypertension as well as keeping it in control if you are already affected.

High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Diagnosis

The blood pressure in the body works the same way as the air pressure in a tire. The tube can be inflated and ready to roll when the pressure is full or flat when the pressure is low. In the body, blood pressure revolves around the forcing of the blood against the blood vessels due to the force exerted. This force exerted on the vessels determines the pressure of the blood. When the pressure is too high, this condition is referred to as hypertension or high blood pressure.

blood pressure high
Source : health.harvard.edu

Despite the fact that there is an element of tension in the term hypertension, it does not mean that the disease is largely associated with tension. However, high levels of stress can directly have an impact on the condition. If the systolic pressure readings hike above 140mm Hg or a person indicates a reading which is equal to or above 90mm Hg of diastolic pressure, the person is said to be suffering from hypertension if the readings are not steered by other conditions like diabetes or kidney disease. Many people suffering from this condition are mostly not aware of it unless if they are tested during the normal checkups.


Most of the times, the symptoms of this condition are never manifested. Due to this the condition earned its famous title “silent killer.” It is associated with severe conditions such as heart attack and fatal stroke which may lead to death. During the times when the blood pressure is high, a person may report having nosebleeds, dizziness and headache. However, these symptoms are rare. It is recommended that a person should take two separate tests with a difference of a few minutes. If the test yields result indicating that you have a high blood pressure, then you will be advised to return after a month to assess if you should start the medication. The normal blood pressure is 80-84 mm Hg on the diastolic reader and 120-129 mm Hg on the systolic reader.


There exist several ways in which high blood pressure can be treated. Due to the advancements made in the field of medicine, there are several drugs that have been discovered to control the condition in a very effective way. The drugs do not cure the condition but they function to manage it by lowering the pressure when it hikes above normal. The type of medicine taken depends on if you have other health complications, how your body responds to the given drugs, what is causing hypertension and how high the blood pressure is. Depending on these factors, different people rely on different forms of medication with others having more than one form of medication


They are the initial form of medication that is tried by the doctor. Also known as water pills, they function to help your kidney secret water and salts out of the body system. This leads to fewer fluids in the body hence lowing the pressure. This form of medication exists in form of combinations of hydrochlorothiazide and triamterene, hydrochlorothiazide and spironolactone as well as hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride.

Beta Blockers and Alpha Blockers

Beta-blockers another form of medication that helps to keep your rate of heartbeat low. The pumping of blood through the vessels, in this case, occurs at less pressure. Alpha blockers, on the other hand, inhibit the nervous system from signalling the blood vessels to tighten. Essentially, the vessels remain relaxed hence more room for the flow of the fluid in the body is created hence less pressure.

Ace Inhibitors

They are a form of medication that inhibits the body from producing the hormones involved in the process of tightening blood vessels. The lack of such hormones in the body is associated with less blood pressure Other Forms of Medication

There exist other treatments for high blood pressure such as vasodilators, peripheral adrenergic blockers, central agonists, calcium channel blockers, direct renin inhibitors, ARBs among others. If you are suffering from this condition, you only have to visit your doctor in order to determine the drug that best works for you


Hypertension if uncontrolled can be very dangerous. Going for medication is the best thing that one can do to avoid suffering from sudden stroke or heart attack which may be fatal and can result in death. However, with the drugs, it is not a condition that you can fear. You will be able to live healthily and continue with your usual day to day activities.


The 26-practice Ohio State University Central Ohio Practice-Based Research Network (OSU-COPBRN) consists of 7 family medicine clinics of the OSU Primary Care Network, including one shared clinic with general internal medicine, 4 general internal medicine clinics of the OSU Specialty Care Network, 5 Columbus Neighborhood Health Center, Inc. clinics, and 10 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Pediatric Primary Care Centers. These Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Pediatric practices include 43 family physicians, 68 pediatricians, 30 general internists, and 12 nurse practitioners and are located throughout Central Ohio and in various Health Professional Shortage Areas.

The OSU-COPBRN was founded in 2001 through collaborative relationships formed through the OSU Primary Care Research Institute and is a member of the AHRQ PBRN registry. The OSU-COPBRN’s mission is to foster, facilitate, and report collaborative, interdisciplinary research directed toward optimizing people’s health, and the populations targeted include minority and underserved populations. A Steering Committee, including representatives from each of the clinical networks, oversees the research activities in the OSU-COPBRN and reviews each request to access the OSU-COPBRN. Collaborating investigators include researchers from each of the clinical networks of the OSU-COPBRN and from the OSU College of Medicine and College of Public Health.

The OSU-COPBRN collaborative of clinical networks serves to maximize the diversity, breadth, and depth of the available primary care study populations in Central Ohio and represents the diverse demographics of the region. The OSU-COPBRN is committed to the performance of high quality practice-based research to add to the primary care knowledge base, enhance delivery of preventive medicine, and positively influence diagnosis and treatment of the health problems of patients, families, and communities.

About the Pbrmcert Program


practice-based research network (PBRN) is a group of ambulatory practices devoted principally to the primary care of patients and affiliated in their mission to investigate questions related to community-based practice and to improve the quality of primary care.  PBRNs draw on the experience and insight of practicing clinicians to identify and frame research questions whose answers can improve the practice of primary care.  By linking these questions with rigorous methods, PBRNs produce research and quality improvement findings that are relevant to clinicians and readily translated into everyday practice.

The Certificate Program in Practice-Based Research Methods seeks to develop a new generation of independent investigators within the PBRN community.  The program will provide training in concepts, skills, and methods for conducting practice-based research and building PBRNs.

Seven learning modalities will be used:

  • Participation in monthly webinars taught by PBRN experts;
  • Ongoing mentoring by an experienced PBRN investigator;
  • Participation in Peer Learning Group calls facilitated by experienced mentors;
  • Development of a Learning Plan;
  • Development of a research concept paper for a PBRN study;
  • Development of a refined Specific Aims section
  • Presentation of the Concept Paper, Specific Aims, and a Career Development plan at the  program’s Convocation in Bethesda, MD on June 20-21, 2017.

Each fellow will have a ‘Primary Mentor’ who is an experienced PBRN investigator that is preferably in the same location as the fellow.  Fellows may have additional mentors to provide content expertise, who are not necessarily local.

Webinars led by PBRN content experts will be held one or two times each month on the 2nd and 4th Thursday from 12:00-1:30 Eastern time.  Advance reading will be required for most of the webinars.  The webinars will recorded and made available to fellows and the larger PBRN community.  Live participation in at least 75% of the webinars is required.

Each fellow will participate in a Peer Learning Group of 6-8 fellows that provides a venue to discuss readings, webinars, progress towards assignments, and to obtain helpful input and troubleshooting.  Peer Learning Groups will be facilitated by experienced mentors and will be held four times over the 10-month program on either a 2nd or 4th Thursday.  Fellows are required to participate in at least 3 of the 4 Peer Learning Group sessions.
Fellows will develop a concept paper in consultation with PBRN members, leaders, patients and other stakeholders.  Mentors will advise fellows in methods for accessing stakeholders.
In order to build skills in developing grant proposals for PBRN research, each fellow will build upon his or her concept paper by writing and refining a Specific Aims section for a research proposal designed to be implemented in a PBRN.

The Certificate Program will culminate with a Convocation of fellows and mentors that will precede the NAPCRG PBRN Conference in Bethesda, MD on June 20-21, 2017.  Fellows will present their concept papers, Specific Aims, and a Career Development plan at the Convocation, where they will receive constructive input from members of the Steering Committee, program mentors, and other fellows.  Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend the NAPCRG PBRN Conference in the days following the Convocation, which will be an excellent professional development opportunity.


After completion of the program, learners will be able to:

  1. Apply methods of practice-based research network development to initiate new PBRNs and strengthen existing networks.
  2. Describe the range of research questions that fit within PBRN settings, and provide examples of studies that play to the strengths of PBRNs.
  3. Describe how PBRN research topics and questions can be elicited from PBRN members, patients, and other community stakeholders.
  4. Conceptualize the changing landscape of PBRN research and describe approaches for expanding research from practices to patients and communities.
  5. Engage PBRN members, network leaders, and patients in a collaborative process to develop a study concept.
  6. Apply one or more research designs in the development of a PBRN study concept paper and Specific Aims.
  7. Explain how electronic health record data and large administrative data sets can be effectively used to answer questions in PBRNs.
  8. Describe sampling methods used in PBRN research, explain common threats to validity in PBRN studies, and discuss the rationale for nested analyses and outline the steps involved.
  9. Apply principles, methods, and tools for quality improvement research within primary care PBRNs.
  10. Compare and contrast the U.S and Canadian healthcare systems, research funding systems, and research infrastructures.
  11. Understand PBRN research in the contexts of implementation science and the translational science continuum.
  12.  Describe the range of strategies that can be used to disseminate PBRN research findings and cite examples of PBRN dissemination strategies.  ​


Steering Committee
The Steering Committee will oversee and guide the program, and members of the Steering Committee will review each fellow’s Learning Plan, Concept Paper, Specific Aims, and Career Development Plan.  Members of the committee will determine at the end of the program whether individual fellows have met the qualification standards required to be awarded the program’s certificate.

A Primary Mentor will guide and support each fellow through the program.  Primary Mentors should be experienced local PBRN investigators who have served as principal investigator on one or more research grants from NIH or AHRQ.  Primary Mentors will guide fellows in accessing local PBRN leaders and members, and in formulating their learning plan, concept paper, specific aims section, career development plan, and convocation presentation.  Additional content mentors can be added based on the fellow’s learning needs and they do not need to be local.
Primary mentors are encouraged to attend the orientation webinar and are welcome to attend all of the webinars.  Primary Mentors should participate in the program’s Convocation that will immediately precede the NAPCRG PBRN Conference on June 20-21, 2017.

  • Anticipated Time Commitment: It is anticipated that each Primary Mentor will devote approximately 1-2 hours/month to mentoring their fellow during the ten month fellowship period.  Mentors will not be financially compensated by the Certificate Program.

The Certificate program trains individuals who aspire to become independent PBRN research investigators.  Candidates include individuals with research career development awards (K-awardees, T- awardees, etc.) who want to gain exposure and skills in PBRN methods.  Others may not have career development awards but are seeking to develop into independent investigators.  Finally, others may be established research investigators who want to gain exposure and experience working with PBRNs.

  • Anticipated Time Commitment: It is expected that fellows will devote approximately 4-6 hours/month to fellowship activities during the ten-month long program.     
  1. No Cost to Participate: There is no cost to participate in the program, which is made available by the AHRQ-funded P30 Centers for Primary Care Practice-based Research and Learning. 

Qualifying for the Certificate
Fellows are required to meet the following criteria in order to earn the Certificate of Practice-Based Research Methods:

  1. Post a descriptive video profile by the due date.
  2. Actively participate in the entirety of at least 75% of training webinars.
  3. Read assigned articles prior to each webinar.
  4. Submit online progress updates at the specified time points.
  5. Participate in at least 3 of the 4 Peer Learning Groups sessions.
  6. Develop and submit a Learning Plan by the due date.
  7. Complete and submit concept paper assignments by the due dates.
  8. Complete and submit a Specific Aims section by the due date.
  9. Complete and submit a Career Development plan by the due date.
  10. Present a satisfactory concept paper, Specific Aims section, and a brief plan for further career development at the Convocation on June 20-21, 2017.


​Program Coordinator: Amanda Ross 
Administrative Director, Collaborative Ohio Inquiry Network (COIN) 
[email protected]| (216) 368-4622 | Fax: (216) 368-4348Course Administration
Learning management software will be used to distribute materials and facilitate learning. CourseSites by BlackBoard is the online system that will be used by the program. Instructions for using CourseSites will be provided.

Required Text
The program has one required text that can be downloaded at no cost (see the link below). Additional readings will be available on CourseSites whenever permitted by copyright; otherwise, articles should be obtained through a library system. The reading list is provided below.
Required: Neale, AV, et al. PBRN Research Good Practices (PRGP). September 2014. Free download available at: http://www.napcrg.org/PBRNResearchGoodPractice 


Applicants should complete the steps within the online application to apply to the program: 

    1. Complete the requested demographic information.
    2. Attach your current CV.
    3. Attach the CV and a signed letter of support from an experienced PBRN investigator who has agreed to be your primary local mentor during the program. 
    4. Provide a statement describing your interest in the program. You may use the available space in the application or attach a document (one page maximum). 
Cohort 2 Application Deadline has passed.
​Visit us again in early 2017 to find out our plans for Cohort 3.