For African-Americans, high blood pressure often develops early in life
The prevalence of high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) in African-Americans in the United States is among the highest in the world. More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic African-American men and women have high blood pressure. For African-Americans, high blood pressure also develops earlier in life and is usually more severe.
Why so many African-Americans have high blood pressure
Theories include higher rates of obesity and diabetes among African-Americans. Researchers have also found that there may be a gene that makes African-Americans much more salt sensitive. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure as much as 5 mm Hg.
- Read about heart disease and stroke in African-Americans.
- Download our fact sheet on African-Americans and high blood pressure.
- Discover how to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.
This content was last reviewed October 2016.