Posted May 6, 2008 – Called hypertension, high blood pressure is more of a problem for Black Americans than for White Americans or other racial groups. Although researchers do not exactly know why,
Black Americans tend to have an unusually high number of risk factors for high blood pressure: diabetes, high stress levels, increased salt intake and sensitivity, and obesity.
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.
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Studies consistently have shown that poverty, coupled with a high-fat and low potassium diet, is an important risk factor for high blood pressure. Even at that, scientists can’t discount the possibility that there may be genetic issues at play.
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 and eye disease), Black Americans are urged to get their blood pressure checked – especially if high blood pressure runs in the family.
To get an idea of whether you are at risk, check the risk factors. And to see where you stand, check the Blood Pressure Chart.