A risk factor makes the chances of getting a disease or condition higher. You can have hypertension with or without any of those listed below. But the more risks you have, the higher your chances. Talk to your doctor about the steps you need to take to lower your risk.
Hypertension can start at any age. But your risk goes higher as you get older. This is because blood vessels become more rigid over time. Your chances get higher after 35 years of age. But hypertension is most common in people aged 65 years and older.
For the most part, men are at a greater risk for hypertension than women who haven't been through menopause. But after, the risk for women goes up to slightly higher than men.
People who are Black have higher rates of hypertension. It also happens earlier and can be more serious.
Your chances may also be higher for:
Hypertension tends to run in families. If your parents, grandparents, and siblings have or had it, this raises your risk.
Certain health problems can make it harder for the blood to move through the body. This makes the heart work harder to pump blood. Over time, this can lead to hypertension. Some of these are:
Preeclampsia is a rise in BP while you’re pregnant. In most cases, BP comes down after the baby's birth. But having had it does make the risk of getting hypertension higher.
Some medicines cause blood vessels to narrow, which makes your BP rise. Over time, this makes your risk of hypertension higher. Some of these are:
High blood pressure. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/high-blood-pressure. Accessed September 15, 2020.
Jolly S, Vittinghoff E, Chattopadhyay A, Bibbins-Domingo K. Higher cardiovascular disease prevalence and mortality among younger blacks compared to whites. Am J Med. 2010; 123(9):811-818.
Risk factors for hypertension. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T903094/Risk-factors-for-hypertension. Accessed September 15, 2020.
Understand your risk for high blood pressure. American Heart Association website. Available at:
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Accessed September 15, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 11/20/2020