8) Increased blood pressure? While this may be partially hereditary, contributing factors are obesity, eating too much fat and salt, drinking too much alcohol and too little exercise. Blood pressure is measured in two parts. The first, systolic, is the pressure the blood exerts on the walls of the arteries when the heart contracts. Secondly, diastolic, is between beats when the heart is taking a rest. If the diastolic is raised your arteries never get a rest. They are constantly stressed, and over time the walls may thicken and stiffen.