1. You’re middle-aged or older
“We see high blood pressure happening at any age, but the risk really starts to accelerate in the 40s,” says Dr. Ward. You can’t turn the clock back. Make sure you’re checking your blood pressure regularly. Many drugstores provide automated blood pressure cuffs for customers to use, and you can also buy home monitors (ask a health professional to demonstrate proper use). These are especially valuable if you’re lax about making regular appointments with a healthcare provider. “The largest group of patients with high blood pressure that is unrecognized—they don’t know it, their doctors don’t know it and they don’t get treated—is middle-aged males, who don’t tend to see us very often,” notes Dr. Ward.