Study: 75% of Black Patients Develop Hypertension by Age 55

Study: 75% of Black Patients Develop Hypertension by Age 55

Three out of four of your African-American patients will develop high blood pressure before the age of 55 according to new journal findings published last week.

That’s significantly higher than white patients for whom only 40 percent will develop hypertension by the same age.

The findings were based on 3,890 participants who enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study between the ages of 18 and 30. By the age of 55, 75.5 percent of black male participants and 75.7 percent of black female participants had developed high blood pressure.

Poor diet and higher body weight were linked to the increased risk of hypertension in all the study participants regardless of race. Based on that association, researchers say it’s more important than ever for health care providers to counsel young patients, especially young African-American patients, about making healthy dietary choices, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

S. Justin Thomas, one of the study’s lead researchers and an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said it’s unclear why African Americans are more at risk than others. But, he speculates the percentage could be even higher.

"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.

Researchers are urging health care providers to advise patients to limit their red meat consumption and salt intake while also maintaining diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts.

Study participants who followed that advice had the lowest risk of developing high blood pressure.

To read the full study, check it out here.