Hypertension and Race:

African-Americans are more likely to develop hypertension -- and to develop it at a younger age. Genetic research suggests that African-Americans seem to be more sensitive to salt. In people who have a gene that makes them salt-sensitive, just a half-teaspoon of salt can raise blood pressure by 5 mm Hg. Diet and excessive weight can play a role, as well.

 Hypertension and Sodium:

Sodium, a major component of salt, can raise blood pressure by causing the body to retain fluid, which leads to a greater burden on the heart. The American Heart Association recommends eating less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. You'll need to check food labels and menus carefully. Processed foods contribute up to 75% of our sodium intake. Canned soups and lunch meats are prime suspects.  

 Hypertension and Stress:

Stress can make your blood pressure spike, but there's no evidence that it causes high blood pressure as an ongoing condition. However, stress may affect risk factors for heart disease, so it may have an indirect connection to hypertension. Stress may lead to other unhealthy habits, such as a poor diet, alcohol use, or smoking, which can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Hypertension and Weight:

Being overweight places a strain on your heart and increases your risk of high blood pressure. That is why diets to lower blood pressure are often also designed to control calories. They typically call for cutting fatty foods and added sugars, while increasing fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and fiber. Even losing 10 pounds can make a difference.  

'White Coat' Hypertension:

Some people only have a high reading in the doctor's office, perhaps because they're nervous. Some will only have blood pressure readings sporadically. Those people may have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure, a recent study shows. To get a more accurate reading, take your blood pressure at home, chart your readings, and share them with your doctor. It is also a good idea to bring in your home monitor in for a check of the device and your technique.  

Hypertension and Children:

While hypertension is more often a problem for older people, even children can have high blood pressure. "Normal" blood pressure varies based on a child's age, height, and sex, so your doctor will need to tell you if there is a concern. Children are at greater risk if they are overweight, have a family history of the illness and if they're African-American.