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What are the risk factors for high blood pressure that I can't change?

Intermountain Registered Dietitians
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

There are factors that have been proven to increase your risk for developing high blood pressure. Some of these risk factors are not under your control. But although you can’t change them, knowing what they are can help you realize the importance of reducing your risk in other ways.

  • family history - High blood pressure tends to run in families.
  • age - In general, the older you get, the greater your chance of having high blood pressure. The most common age for men to first develop high blood pressure is between the ages of 35 and 50—and for women, after menopause.
  • race - especially African-American descent. African Americans have a higher risk for developing high blood pressure than any other ethnic group. Not only is high blood pressure more common in this group, but it happens at an earlier age and is often more severe.

The risk factors for high blood pressure (or hypertension) that you can't change are the following:

  • Genes. The biggest risk factor for high blood pressure that you can't change is genes. When you have a family history, you want to keep it in mind. Unfortunately, the genes that your parents passed on to you are what you have.
  • Age. You can't control your age. As people get older, there is a higher incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • Gender. We can do things to make ourselves look a different gender, but our gender make-up that we were born with can’t change.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.