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Three generations of women.

There are also several factors that you cannot change that affect your blood pressure, like heredity.


Blood pressure tends to rise as people get older.

Race or Ethnicity

African Americans have a higher prevalence of high blood pressure than whites.1


About 60% of people who have diabetes also have high blood pressure.2

Family History

High blood pressure can run in families. People can inherit genes that make them more likely to develop the condition. The risk for high blood pressure can increase even more when heredity is combined with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cigarettes and eating a poor diet.

Find out more about genetics and diseases on CDC's Public Health Genomics Web site.


  1. Keenan NL, Rosendorf KA. Prevalence of hypertension and controlled hypertension—United States, 2005-2008. MMWR. 2011;60 Suppl:94-7.
  2. NIH. The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. [PDF–223K]. Bethesda, MD: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2003.

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