High blood pressure is a very common condition in modern society. It has been estimated that one in five Americans, around 50 million people, suffer from high blood pressure. In general more men than women have high blood pressure, and the number of sufferers of both genders increases rapidly with age.
In around 5% of cases of high blood pressure is caused by kidney problems, but the causes of the other 95% of cases are unknown. There are a number of factors such as race, age, obesity, stress, smoking and lack of exercise that can contribute to the likelihood of a person developing high blood pressure but usually no one cause is directly responsible.