High Blood Pressure and African Americans

Updated:Jan 31,2013

Your Risk For HBP Graphic Text

More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic blacks have high blood pressure. If you're African American, there's a good chance that you, a relative or an African American friend has the disease, which is also known as HBP or hypertension. Not only is HBP more severe in blacks than whites, but it also develops earlier in life.

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Theories about why blacks are at greater risk

Perhaps higher rates of obesity and diabetes place African Americans at greater risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. Researchers have also found that there may be a gene that makes African-Americans much more salt sensitive. This trait increases the risk of developing HBP. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure as much as five millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

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This content was last reviewed on 04/04/2012.