High Blood Pressure

What Increases Your Risk


Some things can make high blood pressure more likely. For example:

  • being older /getting older (as we age, blood vessels get stiffer)
  • being very overweight
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • having a family history of high blood pressure
  • eating too much salt
  • having diabetes
  • smoking
  • experiencing prolonged stress
  • in some cases, having low levels of potassium in your diet
  • being African-American

Other health conditions such as sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia) can trigger high blood pressure. Certain medications can also cause your blood pressure to rise; for example, some diet pills and cold medicines. If you have high blood pressure, your health care provider should consider and rule out other possible causes.

African-Americans are also more prone to having high blood pressure, and may respond differently to medications.

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Updated: November 2017 | Published: June 2016
Editorial Team Lead: Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, FACC, FAHA
Medical Reviewer: John D. Bisognano, MD, PhD, FACC

Infographic: High Blood Pressure

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