Surprising Ways You’re Increasing Your Risk of High Blood Pressure

When it comes to the health of your body, your blood pressure can be a very good indicator of a bunch of different maladies. Understanding the risk factors that can cause HBP or Hypertension is very important. Some you can control and others you can’t. Here are the 15 ways that you may be at a higher risk of HBP. No. 9 really threw us through a loop and you should see that one if nothing else.

1. Family history

Family Tree

Family tree | Bigmouse108/Getty Images

Family history is an extremely important factor when it comes to anything. Any parent or close blood relative can determine whether or not you get certain afflictions. HBP is definitely ones of those afflictions. If someone in your family tree has had issues around hypertension, you are simply at a higher risk of hypertension.

Next: There’s is no avoiding this risk factor.

2. Age

Pictrues of people with different age

People | bowie15/Getty Images

There’s your age catching up with again. Hypertension is almost an inevitability anymore. The older you get, the more your body starts to break down. HBP is just another thing that you can get as you get older. More interestingly is at which age it goes up for each gender. We will get to that on the next page.

Next: Sex has a huge role to play in when you’re risk factors go up.

3. Gender


Men and women | BrianAJackson/Getty Images

That’s right, gender plays a significant role in when your risk factors for HBP go up. For men, the risk of hypertension is higher up to the age of 64. For women, the risk factor goes up after you have reached the age of 65. Obviously, it’s still possible for men and women to get HBP outside of the ranges, but the risks are still higher in those age ranges.

Next: When it comes to hypertension or HBP, your ethnicity plays a significant role.

4. Race

mixed race woman smiling

Race |

Unfortunately for people of African-American descent, HBP occurs far more often than any other ethnic background. Even worse, it tends to be a lot more severe in African-Americans. The reason why is still unclear. Since these two risk factors are playing in tandem with each other, medications to treat HBP can be almost ineffective. The only way to help is to be healthy in all other aspects of your life.

Next: Some diseases can actually cause hypertension.

5. Chronic kidney disease

kidney cross section

Kidney |

Here’s one of the worst cyclical problems in health. Kidney disease can cause hypertension. Hypertension can cause or make kidney disease worse. They are literally a perpetual killing machine that builds off of each other. The best thing you can do is change what you can to try and lessen the symptoms of both.

Next: Here are some things you can control, and this should be the very first thing you change.

6. Not exercising

Beautiful young woman in sports wear is holding a yoga mat and a bottle of wate

Woman exercising |

Not exercising is just bad all around. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a regimented trip to the gym or you have to have a set exercise schedule. It can be something as simple as going for a walk or visiting a park. After you get out a few times, you’ll gradually do more. And the unending health benefits you will reap will begin pouring in.

Next: This is an obvious risk factor, but let’s just get through it and move on the rest.

7. An unhealthy and salty diet

Salty licorice drops

Sweets | Teka77/iStock/Getty Images

We have said this a million times before, diet is everything. You can exercise all you want, but if you don’t have a healthy diet, you’re not going to get very far. When it comes to hypertension, having a saltier diet can really add an extra punch to your already unhealthy diet. From now on, don’t say “pass the salt.”

Next: This is a problem affecting almost a third of Americans.

8. Obesity


Obese man | Nastco/iStock/Getty Images

Being overweight is extremely hard on your body. Your heart has to work extra hard just to get all that extra blood around your body. So rather than this being a risk for HBP, it’s almost a guarantee for hypertension. Doing whatever you can to lose weight, will drastically reduce your risk of HBP.

Next: This is a hard one to limit when you’re having fun. But you should still try.

9. Excessive drinking

man drinking beer

Man drinking a beer | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Drinking is never helpful, but it sure is fun. That’s why a lot of people end up drinking too much. There are also a lot of reports about red wine being heart healthy, but according to the American Heart Association, that’s not true. A lot of those reports had more to do with lifestyle choices than wine consumption.

You always must limit your alcohol consumption. They recommend that men have no more than two drinks a day, and women have no more than two a day.

Next: Your snoring spouse may have HBP and here’s why.

10. Sleep apnea

Portrait of a man sleeping soundly in his bedroom.

Man sleeping | Minerva Studio/Getty Images

Sleep apnea is really hard on your body. The reason is that it doesn’t allow your body to get enough solid sleep. A person with sleep apnea will wake five to 30 times per hour or more during sleep. Not getting a good nights rest can be life-threatening.

If your spouse is snoring, or your spouse says you have a snoring problem, get help. Ignoring the problem is only making things worse.

Next: There are good versions of this, but we are talking about the bad kind that causes HBP.

11. High cholesterol


Cholesterol | Donskarpo/iStock/Getty Images

HBP and high cholesterol pretty much go hand in hand. Over half of the people who have been diagnosed with hypertension also have high cholesterol. Obviously, this can be controlled through proper dieting. But if you haven’t been diagnosed with HBP and you do have high cholesterol, there is a significantly increased risk for hypertension.

Next: Here is another disease that only adds to the risk of getting HBP.

12. Diabetes

man is measuring the level of glucose

Diabetes |

Diabetes is a hard disease to manage. You’re already on a regiment of insulin or a well-managed diet. But even with those efforts, your risk of developing HBP still goes up. Often times it is because people have gone off of their diet, or they are simply unaware that they are diabetic or insulin resistant. Managing diabetes is you’re the only way of staving off hypertension.

Next: This next risk factor has so many risks, you just shouldn’t be doing it. 

13. Using tobacco products

Smoking cigrette

Cigarette | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Using tobacco is just stupid, to begin with. Obviously, there are many risks associated with tobacco like cancer, emphysema, and of course, hypertension. But they are also just annoying. You smell terrible, you generally litter, and you waste your money for a short-term high. Just quit smoking.

Next: This next risk factor is probably why you smoke. 

14. Stress

Worried face expression. Human emotion

Stressed man | SIphotography/iStock/Getty Images

Stress affects us all. It’s almost as unavoidable as death and taxes. The one thing we can control is how much stress we take. If there are people in your life that stress you out, cut them out. If your job is stressing you out, try to find a new one. It could be just your environment and a change of scenery is always nice.

Next: Thank god pre-existing conditions are now covered.

15. Some pre-existing conditions can cause HBP

Doctor's Hand Checking Blood Pressure

Blood pressure test |

Preexisting conditions can cause hypertension. Some of them may be pregnancy or heart defects. For women who are pregnant, it goes away almost immediately after giving birth. Pretty much any preexisting condition that causes HBP that can be resolved, will have hypertension resolve it’s self shortly after.

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