What causes high blood pressure?

While the exact cause of high blood pressure isn’t known, it may result from a variety of causes and risk factors. Some risk factors for high blood pressure, like age and gender, cannot be controlled; others, such as diet and exercise, can be controlled.

Risk Factors That Can’t Be Controlled

Unfortunately, some risk factors for high blood pressure are out of your control. These include age, gender, ethnicity, and a family history of high blood pressure.


The number of people with high blood pressure increases with age. People over the age of 55 with normal blood pressure have a 90% risk of developing hypertension in their lifetime


While both women and men are at risk for hypertension, women are more likely to have high blood pressure as they age. At 65 or older, women are more likely to have high blood pressure.


The risk of high blood pressure is different for different ethnicities. African Americans have higher rates of high blood pressure than Caucasian, Hispanic, or Asian adults. Compared with other ethnic groups, African Americans develop high blood pressure earlier in life, and their average blood pressure is much higher.

Family history of high blood pressure

If you have relatives, such as your mother, father, sister, or brother, with high blood pressure, you are more likely to develop high blood pressure.

Risk Factors that Can Be Managed

While some risk factors for high blood pressure can’t be controlled, there are many risk factors that can be reduced by making healthy lifestyle changes. These risk factors include weight, diet, alcohol intake, tobacco use, and stress.

Being Overweight

Carrying too much weight puts extra stress on your heart and blood vessels. People who are overweight are at risk for many illnesses, including high blood pressure.

Unhealthy Diet

People who regularly eat foods that are high in salt, such as processed foods, are more susceptible to developing high blood pressure.


Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. “Too much” is more than 1 drink a day for women and more than 2 drinks a day for men.


Nicotine raises blood pressure, and cigarette smoking can damage your heart and blood vessels. Because of this, both smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke may increase your risk of high blood pressure.


In addition to raising your blood pressure, stress can cause tensed muscles, faster heart rate, constriction of blood vessels, increased blood production, and pressure changes in the kidneys. Since stress can result in such powerful changes in the body, it’s important to manage stress effectively.
Discover ways you can take control of your high blood pressure.


Are you at risk or currently taking medication for high blood pressure? Use this guide to help you talk to your doctor.*

*This Doctor Discussion Guide is provided to assist you with discussions with your healthcare provider only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Considering talking to your doctor about BYSTOLIC?

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BYSTOLIC is a prescription medicine that belongs to a group of medicines called “beta blockers.” BYSTOLIC is used, often with other medicines, to treat adults with high blood pressure (hypertension). BYSTOLIC is not approved for use in children under 18 years of age.

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Important Risk Information about BYSTOLIC
Important Risk Information
Important Risk Information about BYSTOLIC
Who should NOT take BYSTOLIC?

Do not take BYSTOLIC if you:

  • Have heart failure and are in the ICU or need medicines to keep up your blood circulation.
  • Have a slow heartbeat or your heart skips beats (irregular heartbeat)
  • Have severe liver damage
  • Are allergic to any ingredient in BYSTOLIC. The active ingredient is nebivolol.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking BYSTOLIC?

Before starting BYSTOLIC, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • Have asthma or other lung problems (such as bronchitis or emphysema)
  • Have problems with blood flow in your feet and legs (peripheral vascular disease). BYSTOLIC can make symptoms of blood flow problems worse.
  • Have diabetes and take medicine to control blood sugar
  • Have thyroid problems
  • Have liver or kidney problems
  • Have had allergic reactions to medications or have allergies
  • Have a condition called pheochromocytoma (rare adrenal gland tumor)
  • Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. It is not known if BYSTOLIC is safe for your unborn baby. Talk with your doctor about the best way to treat your high blood pressure while you are pregnant.
  • Are breastfeeding. It is not known if BYSTOLIC passes into your breast milk. You should not breastfeed while using BYSTOLIC.
  • Are scheduled for surgery and will be given anesthetic agents
  • Have had acute angina (symptoms include chest pain or discomfort) or an MI (heart attack) as BYSTOLIC has not been studied in patients with these conditions.

Also, to avoid a potentially serious or life-threatening condition, tell your healthcare provider if you are taking or plan to take any prescription or over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or herbal products, including:

  • Certain CYP2D6 inhibitors (such as some antiarrhythmics like quinidine or propafenone or certain antidepressants such as fluoxetine or paroxetine, etc).
  • Other beta blockers
  • Digitalis
  • Certain calcium channel blockers (such as verapamil and diltiazem)
  • Antiarrhythmic agents (such as disopyramide)
What are the possible side effects of BYSTOLIC?

The most common side effects people taking BYSTOLIC report are headache, fatigue (tiredness), dizziness (if you feel dizzy, sit or lie down and tell your doctor right away), diarrhea, nausea, insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep), chest pain, bradycardia (slow heartbeat), dyspnea (shortness of breath), rash, and peripheral edema (leg swelling due to fluid retention). Other possible side effects include masking (hiding) the symptoms of low blood sugar and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), especially a fast heartbeat. Tell your doctor if you gain weight or have trouble breathing while taking BYSTOLIC.

This is not a complete list of side effects. Tell your doctor if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.

What other information do I need to know about taking BYSTOLIC?
  • Do not stop taking BYSTOLIC suddenly. You could have chest pain or a heart attack. If your doctor decides that you should stop taking BYSTOLIC, he or she will lower your dose slowly and over time.
  • Take BYSTOLIC every day exactly as your doctor tells you. Your doctor will tell you how much BYSTOLIC to take and how often. Your doctor may start with a low dose and raise it over time.
  • Do not stop taking BYSTOLIC or change your dose without talking with your doctor.
  • BYSTOLIC can be taken with or without food.
  • If you miss a dose, take your dose as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time to take your next dose. Do not take 2 doses at the same time. Take your next dose at the usual time.
  • If you take too much BYSTOLIC, call your doctor or poison control center right away.

BYSTOLIC is a prescription medicine that belongs to a group of medicines called “beta blockers.” BYSTOLIC is used, often with other medicines, to treat adults with high blood pressure (hypertension). BYSTOLIC is not approved for use in children under 18 years of age.

What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?

Blood pressure is the force in your blood vessels when your heart beats and when your heart rests. You have high blood pressure when the force is too great.

High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood through the body and causes damage to the blood vessels. BYSTOLIC tablets can help your blood vessels relax so your blood pressure is lower. Medicines that lower your blood pressure lower your chance of having a stroke or heart attack.