You may be at risk for hypertension if:

High blood pressure runs in your family.

You are more than 20 pounds overweight.

You smoke a lot.

You are on the Pill, especially if you smoke.

You drink more than 6 ounces of alcohol daily.

You are over 50. (Although hypertension is being found increasingly in children and teen-agers.)

Your diet includes foods high in cholesterol-producing fats. (Red meat, dairy products.)

You eat a lot of salt.

You are black. For reasons still unknown, blacks are twice as susceptible to hypertension than whites and twice as likely to suffer fatal consequences.

You have a so-called A-type personality.

Everyone should have his or her blood pressure checked as part of an annual checkup. Persons with any of the above risk factors should be checked more often.

The test is simple, painless and often free. Check your doctor, the nurse at your office, the heart association in your city.

High blood pressure isn't something that gets cured. If you stop taking medicine or regain lost weight or resume excessive drinking and/or smoking, your blood pressure will zoom up once again. As it zooms, your life expectancy plummets.

For more information, read:

Dr. Freis' book, "The High Blood Pressure Book" ($12.95, Elsevier-Dutton).

The excellent pamphlet, "High Blood Pressure," By Dr. Nicolaos E. Madias ($1.25, Arandel Publishing Co., Wellesley, Mass. 02181).

For discussion of the relationship of stress, read "Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer," by Kenneth R. Pelletier (Dell, $4.95.).