Am I at risk for high blood pressure?

1 in 15 have high bpHigh blood pressure (also called hypertension) is very common. About 1 in 3 of all adults have high blood pressure in the United States. Almost 1 in 15 young adults (18-39 year-olds) have high blood pressure.

Many people do not know they have high blood pressure. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to have it checked at least once a year.

If you are told that your blood pressure is high, it is important to be seen at a medical clinic to learn how to lower your blood pressure. 

Everyone is at risk for high blood pressure. Blood pressure increases as you get older. 


Am I at RiskYou may be at risk for developing high blood pressure at a younger age if:

  • Your family members have high blood pressure.

  • You smoke cigarettes. (See Quit Smoking)

  • You are overweight. Find out more about your body weight at

  • You are African-American or of African descent. Some race/ethnicities have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

  • You have diabetes. High blood sugar damages the blood vessels and makes it harder for your body to keep the blood pressure in the normal range.

  • You do not exercise regularly. Regular exercise is important for everyone! Exercise can relax your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure.

  • You have a high sodium (high salt) diet. A diet high in sodium (salt) can raise your blood pressure. 

  • You consume too much alcohol. (See Limit Alcohol)

  • You have high stress. Always being under stress can cause your blood pressure to remain high. You and your blood vessels need time to relax. (See Manage Stress)

  • You have sleep apnea. Have you been told that you snore or stop breathing when you sleep? You may have sleep apnea which can cause high blood pressure. Consider talking to your doctor about a sleep study. 

  • You have kidney disease. Some kidney conditions can cause high blood pressure.

See also  Contact information

See here for a downloadable list of questions you can ask your doctor about high blood pressure. (This file will open in PDF format. You can download a free PDF reader here.)

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