WebMD lists the causes of hypertension as smoking, lack of physical activity, alcoholism, excessive salt in the diet, being overweight, stress, old age, genetics, adrenal and thyroid disorders and chronic kidney disease. Causes of essential hypertension are unknown, while those of secondary hypertension can be determined.
The medications which are associated with developing hypertension include birth control pills, decongestants and cold remedies. Mayo Clinic notes that illegal drugs, such as amphetamines and cocaine, also cause hypertension. WebMD reveals that essential hypertension is reported in 95 percent of the U.S. population and that African-Americans have an increased risk of developing hypertension. Mayo Clinic reports that secondary hypertension appears suddenly and increases blood pressure more than essential hypertension.