People with close blood relatives who have a history of high blood pressure are more likely to develop the condition, reports the American Heart Association. Old age, gender, a sedentary lifestyle, an unhealthy diet and being overweight are also risk factors. Additionally, regular, excessive alcohol consumption contributes to high blood pressure.
Research suggests that high blood pressure is hereditary, which is why it is important for all family members to maintain a healthy lifestyle and undergo regular blood pressure checks if high blood pressure runs in the family, notes the National Kidney Foundation. It helps to eat balanced meals with less salt and fats, start an exercise regimen and quit smoking.
African Americans and women age 65 and older are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure, states the American Heart Association. Children also sometimes develop the condition. Besides family history, old age increases a person's risk of high blood pressure and heart disease because the body experiences increased pressure due to reduced flexibility.
Stress is also a possible risk factor because it briefly raises a person's blood pressure and leads to other contributing factors, such as being overweight or physically inactive, drinking, smoking or using drugs, reports the American Heart Association. In some cases, high blood pressure is reversible if the underlying condition, such as a narrowed artery, is corrected.