Things that increase your risk (risk factors) for high blood pressure include:
- A family history of high blood pressure.
- Eating a lot of sodium (salt).
- Drinking more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day for men or more than 1 alcoholic drink a day for women.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Lack of exercise or physical activity.
- Race. African Americans are more likely to get high blood pressure, often have more severe high blood pressure, and are more likely to get the condition at an earlier age than others. Why they are at greater risk is not known.
Other possible risk factors include:
- Low intake of potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
- Sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing.
- Long-term use of pain medicines like NSAIDs-for example, naproxen (such as Aleve) or ibuprofen (such as Motrin or Advil)-or COX-2 inhibitors, such as celecoxib (Celebrex). Aspirin does not increase your risk for getting high blood pressure.