High blood pressure can lead to serious diseases such as a stroke or heart attack. Learn how to change the behaviors increasing your risk for high blood pressure.

What Causes High Blood Pressure

While there are some non modifiable risk factors for hypertension, such as family history and age, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of getting high blood pressure (hypertension).

Once you understand what the risk factors are, you can learn how to avoid behaviors increasing your risk for high blood pressure.

Sedentary Lifestyle

If you have little to no physical activity throughout the day, you increase your risk of high blood pressure. Get up and get moving – physical activity is great for the heart and circulatory system.

You don’t have to train for a marathon; merely walking for 30 minutes a day should help.

Unhealthy Diet

Behaviors Increasing your Risk for High Blood Pressure

A healthy diet will make you feel good and can even help lower blood pressure.

Avoid the following food choices if you want to lower your risk of getting hypertension: anything high in sodium, calories, saturated fats, trans fats, and sugars.

The American Heart Association provides a high blood pressure diet that may benefit you.

Being Overweight

Extra weight does not only put stress on your joints but also your heart and circulatory system. Being obese or overweight increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Making an exercise and diet plan should help you lose weight and lower your risk of hypertension.

Drinking Too Much

While there may be nothing wrong with having a drink occasionally, drinking too much alcohol can lead to many health problems.

Besides causing blood pressure to increase dramatically, it can also increase your risk of cancer, obesity, alcoholism, suicide, accidents, heart failure, stroke, and irregular heartbeats.

Learn how to manage your alcohol intake and drink in moderation.

Sleep Apnea

Behaviors Increasing your Risk for High Blood Pressure

Sleep apnea is common in people with resistant hypertension and can also increase the risk of developing hypertension. Talk to a doctor about treatments if you think you may suffer from this condition.

High Cholesterol and Diabetes

Over 50% of people with high blood pressure have high cholesterol, and most individuals who have diabetes develop high blood pressure.

If you still suffer from these conditions after changing your diet and activity levels, talk to a doctor to make a treatment plan.


Tobacco use can temporarily increase your blood pressure and may lead to damaged arteries. Secondhand smoke can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease even if you are a nonsmoker.


Too much stress can increase your blood pressure and lead to bad habits like a poor diet, lack of physical activity, and overusing tobacco and/or alcohol.

While you may not necessarily be able to avoid stress, learning how to cope with it healthily can help you in the long run. Look into meditating and other techniques to help you manage your stress.

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