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Hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure, is a chronic condition in which elevated levels of pressure are seen in the arteries. A number of dietary, genetic and lifestyle factors contribute to the development of hypertension, but the most common causes are physical inactivity, excessive salt intake, poor diet and tobacco use. Overweight and obese people are also at elevated risk for hypertension. In most cases, quitting smoking, reducing intake of salt, saturated fat and calories, and increasing physical activity levels will suffice to lower blood pressure, but medications may also be prescribed for hypertensive patients. People with high blood pressure have an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.