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Causes

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

Things that can increase your risk of getting high blood pressure

You might be more at risk if you:

  • are overweight
  • eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • do not do enough exercise
  • drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • smoke
  • do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep
  • are over 65
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • are of black African or black Caribbean descent
  • live in a deprived area

Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it's already high.

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.

Your diet and lifestyle can make increase your risk of getting high blood pressure. You’re more at risk if you:

  • are overweight
  • eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • do not do enough exercise
  • drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • smoke
  • do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep

Sometimes things you cannot change might mean you’re more likely to get high blood pressure.

These include:

  • being over 65
  • having a relative with high blood pressure
  • being of Black African or Black Caribbean descent
  • having a another medical condition
  • taking certain medicines

However, you might still be able to lower your blood pressure by changing your diet and lifestyle.

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.