Alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can cause high blood pressure. For men, this means more than 2 drinks per day. For women, this means more than 1 drink per day. In fact, experts estimate that 10% of high blood pressure is caused by alcohol abuse. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of 100-proof distilled liquor. Excessive alcohol use can also decrease the effectiveness of medicine that lowers blood pressure and can put you at risk for stroke.
Caffeine. A temporary increase in blood pressure can be caused by caffeine. Many experts believe that caffeine isn't harmful for people with normal blood pressure. However, some studies indicate that drinking 5 or more cups of caffeinated beverages per day may boost blood pressure and may be harmful for people who already have high blood pressure. Drinking caffeinated beverages also increases the release of calcium from the body, which may affect blood pressure.
Nicotine. Smoking is not directly linked to high blood pressure, but it is one of the major risk factors for heart disease and diseases of the blood vessels. In addition, people who continue to smoke after starting treatment for high blood pressure may not get the full benefit from their therapy.
Street drugs, such as cocaine, anabolic steroids, and amphetamines can cause a rise in blood pressure. Everyone should avoid using them, especially those with high blood pressure.