Family members share genes, behaviors, lifestyles, and environments that can influence their health and their risk for disease. High blood pressure can run in a family, and your risk for high blood pressure can increase based on your age and your race or ethnicity.
When members of a family pass traits from one generation to another through genes, that process is called heredity.
Genetic factors likely play some role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other related conditions. However, it is also likely that people with a family history of high blood pressure share common environments and other potential factors that increase their risk.
The risk for high blood pressure can increase even more when heredity combines with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cigarettes and eating an unhealthy diet.
Both men and women can have high blood pressure. Some other characteristics that you cannot control—like your age, race, or ethnicity—can affect your risk for high blood pressure.
Age. Because your blood pressure tends to rise as you get older, your risk for high blood pressure increases with age. About 9 of 10 Americans will develop high blood pressure during their lifetimes.1 Sex. Women are about as likely as men to develop high blood pressure at some point during their lives. Race or ethnicity. Blacks develop high blood pressure more often than whites, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, or Alaska Natives. Compared to whites, blacks also develop high blood pressure earlier in life.