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High Blood Pressure - What Increases Your Risk

Things that increase your risk (risk factors) for high blood pressure include:

  • A family history of high blood pressure.
  • Aging.
  • 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:

Recommended Related to Hypertension

5 Tips on Reducing Salt Intake

Cutting down on salt may help lower your blood pressure. And most Americans need to cut back, because they get more sodium than they should. The American Heart Association recommends getting less than 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day. That's less than a teaspoon from all your meals and snacks. Start with these tips: Break the habit of automatically reaching for your salt shaker. Table salt is about 40% sodium, according to the American Heart Association. So avoid adding salt to foods...

Read the 5 Tips on Reducing Salt Intake article > >

  • 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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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