Hypertension Home > Essential Hypertension Risks
Factors such as being African American, having a family history of high blood pressure, and being overweight or obese are risks for essential hypertension. Other factors include having diabetes, being physically inactive, and consuming too much salt and sodium. Doing something about the factors you have control over can minimize your risk for high blood pressure.
About 65 million American adults -- nearly 1 in 3 -- have high blood pressure. Essential hypertension is the most common type, occurring in 9 out of 10 high blood pressure cases. With essential hypertension, the cause of high blood pressure is not known. However, there are factors that can increase a person's chance of developing it. These factors are known as essential hypertension risks.
There are a number of risk factors that increase a person's chance of developing high blood pressure. Some of these cannot be controlled, such as:
- Being African American
- Having a family history of high blood pressure
- Being a male over the age of 45 or a female over the age of 55.
However, there are a number of risk factors for hypertension that can be controlled, including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Being physically inactive
- Having diabetes
- Consuming too much salt and sodium
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Not getting enough potassium (due to not eating enough fruits and vegetables)
- Prehypertension (that is, blood pressure in the 120-139/80-89 mmHg range).
In the United States, high blood pressure occurs more often in African Americans than in Caucasians. Compared to other groups, African Americans:
- Tend to get high blood pressure earlier in life
- Usually have more severe high blood pressure
- Have a higher death rate from stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure.