reduce your risk for high blood pressure

Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure

Certain individuals are more likely to develop high blood pressure than others because of genetics and/or behavior. The following people are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure:

  • Individuals with family members who have high blood pressure
  • Those who eat too much salty or fatty food
  • People who smoke
  • African-Americans
  • Women who are pregnant
  • Women who take birth control pills
  • People over the age of 35
  • People who are overweight or obese
  • Individuals who are not physically active
  • Those who drink alcohol excessively (more than one drink per day for women; two for men)
  • Anyone with chronic kidney disease
  • Those with adrenal and thyroid disorders
  • People with higher stress levels

How Can I Lower my Blood Pressure?

  • If you have high blood pressure, follow your healthcare provider's advice
  • Reduce your intake of sodium, caffeine and alcohol
  • Be active/exercise regularly for 30 minutes, five times a week — stay motivated by trying new activities!
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of vegetables and fruits, try new things there are so many possibilities!
  • Quit smoking. Once you quit smoking, your risk of heart attack drops quickly — in as little as two to three weeks. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit makesmokinghistory.org.

Check your blood pressure regularly at your local drug store, pharmacy, or doctor’s office, or buy a blood pressure monitor and track your progress with DPH’s My Blood Pressure Wallet Card. Or, track your blood pressure online with the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control Tracker.


This information is provided by the Division of Prevention and Wellness within the Department of Public Health.