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The Causes of High Blood Pressure

Learn Which Risk Factors You Can Control

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Lowering your blood pressure isn't always as simple as eating fewer high-sodium foods. The fact is that multiple factors combined affect your blood pressure. There are two main categories of risks that contribute to hypertension—those that you can't change, and those that you can.

Uncontrollable Risk Factors
These variables are out of your control. Although you can't do anything to change them, it's important to know whether you fall into any of these higher-risk categories.
  • Your age. Your risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you age. Men over 45 and women over 55 are more likely to have high blood pressure.
  • Your gender. Up to age 55, men are more prone to high blood pressure than women. After menopause, a woman's risk increases. By age 75, high blood pressure is more prevalent among women than men. Women who take oral contraceptives are also at a higher risk for hypertension.
  • Your family history. Your risk doubles if one or both of your parents had high blood pressure.
  • Your race. In the U.S., African Americans (especially women) are more likely to develop high blood pressure, along with other minorities (Hispanics, American Indians and Alaskan natives).
Although these factors are out of your control, there are several lifestyle habits that you CAN change to help lower your blood pressure.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

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