Let's talk about High Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is when the blood puts too much pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. By putting stress on the blood vessels and heart, high blood pressure can increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. 

Is high blood pressure genetic? 

Genetics can play a role in high blood pressure. This means some people may be more likely to develop high blood pressure based on their genetics. Family history can also play a role—people with a family history of high blood pressure are more likely to develop the condition themselves, especially if one or both parents had high blood pressure before the age of 55. 

Icons labeled heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. 

What else impacts my chances of developing high blood pressure? 

Besides genetics, there are other factors that can impact your chances of developing high blood pressure. 

Lifestyle factors can play a role: maintaining a healthy weight, eating a low-sodium heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking can help lower the chances of developing high blood pressure. Age is also an important factor, since high blood pressure becomes much more common as people get older. Ethnicity can also play a role: high blood pressure is more common among African Americans than most other ethnicities. Other health conditions like high cholesterol and diabetes can also increase the chances of developing high blood pressure.

Did you know?

In the U.S., as many as 85-90% of people are expected to develop high blood pressure in their lifetime.

What do your genes say about high blood pressure?  

The High Blood Pressure report (Powered by 23andMe Research) can help you learn what your genetics have to say about your likelihood of developing high blood pressure, part of the 23andMe+ Premium membership. 23andMe+ Premium includes everything in our Health + Ancestry Service plus new premium reports and features throughout the year.

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Please note:

  • The High Blood Pressure report does not diagnose high blood pressure and should not be used to make medical decisions.
  • The report was developed by 23andMe scientists using data and insights gathered from thousands of customers who consent to participate in our research. Reports based on 23andMe research provide an estimate of your likelihood of developing a condition based on your genetics and other factors. This report does not account for lifestyle or family history.
  • The report does not account for every possible genetic variant that could affect your likelihood of developing high blood pressure.

References

Carson AP et al. (2011). “Ethnic differences in hypertension incidence among middle-aged and older adults: the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis.” Hypertension. 57(6):1101-7. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). “Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Prevalence & Trends Data.” Retrieved May 4, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/brfss/brfssprevalence/. 

Elmer PJ et al. (2006). “Effects of comprehensive lifestyle modification on diet, weight, physical fitness, and blood pressure control: 18-month results of a randomized trial.” Ann Intern Med. 144(7):485-95. 

Hermida RC et al. (2011). “Decreasing sleep-time blood pressure determined by ambulatory monitoring reduces cardiovascular risk.” J Am Coll Cardiol. 58(11):1165-73. 

Hsu CY et al. (2005). “Elevated blood pressure and risk of end-stage renal disease in subjects without baseline kidney disease.” Arch Intern Med. 165(8):923-8. 

Mertens IL et al. (2000). “Overweight, obesity, and blood pressure: the effects of modest weight reduction.” Obes Res. 8(3):270-8. 

Taylor RS et al. (2011). “Reduced dietary salt for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (Cochrane review).” Am J Hypertens. 24(8):843-53. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018. 

Vasan RS et al. (2002). “Residual lifetime risk for developing hypertension in middle-aged women and men: The Framingham Heart Study.” JAMA. 287(8):1003-10. 

Wang NY et al. (2008). “Blood pressure change and risk of hypertension associated with parental hypertension: the Johns Hopkins Precursors Study.” Arch Intern Med. 168(6):643-8. 

Whelton PK et al. (2017). “2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines.” Hypertension. 71(6):e13-e115.