High blood pressure puts more stress on the beating heart, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The U.S. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says potential factors that contribute to high blood pressure include:
- A problem with the kidneys, which help regulate water, salt and other bodily minerals.
- A hormonal or nervous system imbalance.
- Malfunctioning blood vessels.
- A family history of high blood pressure or related problems.
- An unhealthy lifestyle, such as sedentary habits, poor diet or obesity.
- Use of certain prescription or over-the-counter medications, such as birth control pills or cold medicines.