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Risk Factors for Hypertension
- Alcohol use —Drinking alcohol regularly and in large amounts increases blood pressure. This means drinking more than one daily drink for women or two for men.
- Excess dietary sodium—In susceptible people, a high salt diet may contribute to high blood pressure.
- Lack of exercise—Moderate to intense exercise, done regularly, improves heart function and promotes healthy arteries. If you are unaccustomed to exercise, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- Stress—Hormones released by your body when you are under stress can increase your blood pressure. This may aggravate high blood pressure in genetically susceptible individuals.
- Obesity —Like all tissue, fatty tissue requires a rich blood supply. The heart has to work harder to deliver blood to all the body tissues in heavier people than in leaner people.
- Other conditions associated with hypertension include:
(birth control pills)—Taking oral contraceptives may increase your risk of hypertension in certain situations. You are more likely to develop high blood pressure while taking birth control pills if you:
- Have a family history of hypertension
- Have kidney disease
- Are overweight
- Had high blood pressure during pregnancy
Other medications—Certain drugs can increase your risk of hypertension and/or interfere with medications you may take to lower your blood pressure. These include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Diet pills
High blood pressure. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/ . Accessed June 18, 2009.
High blood pressure. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Hbp/HBP%5FWhatIs.html . Updated November 2008. Accessed June 18, 2009.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013