High blood pressure (hypertension)Causes

In most cases, it's not clear exactly what causes high blood pressure (hypertension). But there are several things that can increase your risk.

In most cases, it's not clear exactly what causes high blood pressure (hypertension). But there are several things that can increase your risk.

Who's at risk of high blood pressure

Factors that can raise your risk of developing high blood pressure include:

  • age – the risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you get older
  • a family history of high blood pressure
  • being of African or Caribbean origin
  • a high amount of salt in your food 
  • lack of exercise
  • being overweight
  • regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • smoking
  • long-term sleep deprivation

Making healthy lifestyle changes can help keep your blood pressure at a normal level.

Find out more about how to prevent high blood pressure

Known causes of high blood pressure

In about 1 in 20 cases, high blood pressure happens as the result of an underlying health condition or taking a certain medicine.

Health conditions that can cause high blood pressure include:

Medicines that can increase your blood pressure include:

In these cases, your blood pressure may return to normal once you stop taking the medicine or drug.

Page last reviewed: 20/05/2019
Next review due: 20/05/2022