Salt is not the cause of high blood pressure, but diets high in sodium are an underlying risk factor, especially for people who are salt-sensitive or have a family history or other increased risk for cardiovascular disease. However, this increased risk can be attributed to poor nutrition in general.
But even if you have a healthy, balanced diet that's low in sodium, you may still be at risk for developing hypertension (as well as stroke and heart disease). While it's difficult to pinpoint the reason why one person develops high blood pressure and another doesn't -- in fact, the cause in about 90 to 95 percent of high blood pressure instances is unknown -- some factors do put you at risk:
- High blood pressure runs in your family.
- You lead a sedentary lifestyle.
- You're overweight or obese.
- You drink alcohol.
In addition to these risk factors -- and notice salt consumption isn't one of them -- your chances of developing high blood pressure go up as you age.