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High Blood Pressure & Black Americans

Also called: Hypertension and Black Americans, Blood Pressure and Black Americans

- Summary
- Prevalence in black Americans
- Risk factors
- Diagnosis methods
- Treatment options
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Kerry Prewitt, M.D., FACC
Lynne Perry-Bottinger, MD, FACC


Black Americans are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) than Caucasians or other racial groups. Although researchers do not know the exact reason for this finding, they point out that black Americans tend to have an unusually high number of risk factors for high blood pressure. These risk factors include diabetes, high stress levels and increased salt intake and sensitivity. 

There are other reasons that might help explain why black Americans are both at greater risk for high blood pressure, and once diagnosed with high blood pressure, at greater risk for complications. Studies have consistently shown that lower socioeconomic status, coupled with a high-fat and low potassium diet, is an important risk factor for high blood pressure. In addition, there may be genetic factors that factor into the equatioHypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure (the force of blood against artery walls).n. For example, researchers have learned that black Americans with the same blood pressure as white Americans tend to have enlarged left ventricles, compared to their white counterparts. In addition, hypertensive black Americans appear to be at much greater risk for kidney failure than white Americans, even after all the important variables are taken into account.

Because of the life-threatening complications of high blood pressure (stroke, heart failure, kidney failure), black Americans are urged to get their blood pressure checked – especially if high blood pressure runs in the family.

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Review Date: 02-27-2007

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