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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. African Americans also have higher risk of stroke and kidney disease.

The treatment of blood pressure in African Americans is not different from other groups. Your doctor will give you a blood pressure goal. An example of a goal is to keep blood pressure below 140/90. Your goal may be lower or higher based on your health and age. Your blood pressure goal can help you prevent problems caused by high blood pressure.

You can help lower your blood pressure by making healthy changes in your lifestyle. If those lifestyle changes don't work well enough, you may also need to take medicine.

Healthy lifestyle changes are important for everyone. They include eating heart-healthy foods, being active, staying at a healthy weight, and not smoking. For many African Americans, sodium raises their blood pressure. So limiting sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy eating plan.

Related Information

References

Other Works Consulted

  • James PA, et al. (2013). 2014 Evidence-based guideline for the management of high blood pressure in adults: Report from the panel members appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). Journal of the American Medical Association. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.284427. Accessed December 18, 2013.
  • Weber MA, et al. (2013). Clinical practice guidelines for the management of hypertension in the community. Journal of Clinical Hypertension. DOI: 10.1111/jch.12237. Accessed December 19, 2013.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Current as of March 12, 2014

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