Health Watch - Special Populations: Blood Pressure

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Health isn’t one-size-fits-all. Some groups have different health risks and concerns. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about some of these special populations and what they need to know about their health.

Dr. Shawna Nesbitt, a hypertension expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says African Americans have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure earlier in life. Doctors don’t yet know why this is, but they do know that African Americans can manage this risk by getting regular check-ups, knowing their blood pressure and being aware of risk factors. Heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and high cholesterol all increase the risk. Those who are at risk should try to keep their weight within a healthy range or lose weight if they’re overweight. They should also eat a low-salt, high-fiber diet and try to exercise regularly. The earlier high blood pressure is treated, the less damage it does.

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September 2009

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