Most black adults have high blood pressure before age 55

July 11, 2018, American Heart Association

Approximately 75 percent of black and men women are likely to develop high blood pressure by the age of 55, compared to 55 percent of white men and 40 percent of white women in the same age range, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The researchers identified 3,890 participants from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study who enrolled in the study between the ages 18 to 30 years without , defined as systolic/diastolic pressure of 130/80 mmHg or higher and who were not taking medication to control blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for attacks, heart failure and strokes. The researchers found that by age 55 years:

  • 75.5 percent of black men,
  • 75.7 percent of black women,
  • 54.5 percent of white men, and
  • 40.0 percent of white women developed high blood pressure.

The researchers found that higher body weight was associated with an increased risk for high blood pressure, regardless of race or gender, and those who adhered to the DASH-style diet, both blacks and whites, were at lower risk for hypertension. DASH style (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts and limited in red meat and salt.

"Regardless of blood pressure levels in young adulthood, blacks have a substantially higher risk for developing high blood pressure compared with whites through 55 years of age," said S. Justin Thomas, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "It is urgent that healthcare providers counsel young patients, particularly blacks, about eating a healthy diet, being physically active and controlling body weight. The risk of high blood pressure can be significantly reduced with a healthy lifestyle."

In the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guideline for hypertension, released in 2017, the threshold for stage 1 hypertension, or high blood pressure, changed to 130 mmHg or higher for the top number or 80 mmHg or higher for the bottom number. The previous threshold for high blood pressure was at or above 140/90 mmHg. The researchers used the new definition of high blood pressure in their analysis.

"Since the definition for high blood pressure was recently lowered, it is expected that even more young African American adults will be considered to have high blood pressure," said Thomas.

"It is important to note that most high blood is preventable through lifestyle changes," said Willie E. Lawrence, Jr. M.D., a spokesman for the American Heart Association and chief of cardiology at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. "We need to encourage all young people, and especially our young African Americans who are at highest risk, to think about their future health and make choices that will change these statistics."

Explore further: Low sodium-DASH diet combination dramatically lowers blood pressure in hypertensive adults

More information: S. Justin Thomas et al, Cumulative Incidence of Hypertension by 55 Years of Age in Blacks and Whites: The CARDIA Study, Journal of the American Heart Association (2018). DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.117.007988

Related Stories

Low sodium-DASH diet combination dramatically lowers blood pressure in hypertensive adults

November 13, 2017
A combination of reduced sodium intake and the DASH diet lowers blood pressure in adults with hypertension, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2017, a premier ...

Blood pressure: know your numbers

April 18, 2017
(HealthDay)—Having high blood pressure makes you more likely to have heart disease or a stroke. But because high blood pressure doesn't usually cause warning symptoms, you could be at risk without even knowing it.

Adults with high blood pressure face higher healthcare costs

May 30, 2018
Adults with high blood pressure face $1,920 higher healthcare costs each year compared to those without high blood pressure, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal ...

Black, Hispanic people may be more likely to have a second hemorrhagic stroke than whites

June 6, 2018
Black and Hispanic people may be more likely to have another intracerebral hemorrhage, or a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, than white people, according to a study published in the June 6, 2018, online issue of Neurology, ...

Severe pre-eclampsia often leads to undetected high blood pressure after pregnancy

February 5, 2018
Lingering hypertension is common and may go unnoticed among women who have severe pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.

Stroke survivors could gain the most from new blood pressure guidelines

June 6, 2018
Treating high blood pressure in stroke survivors more aggressively, could cut deaths by one-third, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American ...

Recommended for you

Higher risk of heart attack on Christmas Eve

December 12, 2018
The risk of heart attack peaks at around 10pm on Christmas Eve, particularly for older and sicker people, most likely due to heightened emotional stress, finds a Swedish study in this week's Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Your weight history may predict your heart failure risk

December 12, 2018
In a medical records analysis of information gathered on more than 6,000 people, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers conclude that simply asking older adult patients about their weight history at ages 20 and 40 could provide ...

Age is the biggest risk for heart disease, but lifestyle and meds have impact

December 12, 2018
Of all the risk factors for heart disease, age is the strongest predictor of potential trouble.

New understanding of mysterious 'hereditary swelling'

December 12, 2018
For the first time ever, biomedical researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, report cellular defects that lead to a rare disease, hereditary angioedema (HAE), in which patients experience recurrent episodes of swelling ...

Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes

December 11, 2018
Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes.

Macrophage cells key to helping heart repair—and potentially regenerate, new study finds

December 11, 2018
Scientists at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre have identified the type of cell key to helping the heart repair and potentially regenerate following a heart attack.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.