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High Blood Pressure in African Americans

Topic Overview

African Americans are more likely to develop high blood pressure and often have more severe high blood pressure than other groups. They also are more likely to have the condition at an earlier age than others. It is not known why they are at greater risk.

African Americans who are sensitive to salt (sodium), are obese, or smoke are at even higher risk for high blood pressure. As a result, African Americans with these additional risk factors tend to have more organ damage, such as kidney disease, heart attack, and enlargement of the heart, which can lead to heart failure (hypertensive heart disease). Lifestyle changes are especially important in this group.

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Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Last Revised April 5, 2013

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