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Understanding High Blood Pressure

Your High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that makes you more likely to have a disease or condition. Do you know your risk factors for high blood pressure? Learn what blood pressure risk factors you have. Then, talk to your healthcare team about changes you can make to help control your risk.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood flow against the walls of the arteries. If blood pressure is too high, it raises your risk for serious health problems. These include heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure.

What Are Your Risks?

Risk factors are different for each person. Check the risks listed below that apply to you. The more you check, the greater your risk for high blood pressure. Keep in mind that some factors, like age and family history, can’t be changed. But others can be managed. 

Your Background

You can’t control any of the things listed below. But the more of them that apply to you, the greater your risk for high blood pressure.

  • One or both of your parents or grandparents has had high blood pressure or heart disease.

  • A close male relative had heart disease or a heart attack before age 50.

  • A close female relative had heart disease or a heart attack before age 60.

  • You’re a man over age 55 or a postmenopausal woman.

  • You’re African American.

Your Health and Lifestyle

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Image of a pack of cigarettes and an ashtray

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Image of a cheeseburger and french fries

These health factors raise your risk for high blood pressure. They are also things you can work on changing. Talk to your healthcare team about ways to reduce your risk.

  • You’re overweight.

  • You have unhealthy cholesterol levels.

  • You have diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease.

  • You smoke.

  • You rarely get exercise.

  • You often eat salty, fried, or greasy foods.

  • You drink 2 or more alcoholic drinks a day.

  • Feeling stressed is part of your typical day.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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