African-Americans develop hypertension at earlier age

Knowing your blood pressure numbers and knowing your family’s health history are paramount in fighting early onset of high blood pressure, especially if you’re African-American, say doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“African-Americans are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure earlier, but hypertension is a threat to people of all cultures. While there is no single reason, there are ways to combat it,” says Dr. Shawna Nesbitt, a hypertension specialist at UT Southwestern. “Regular checkups and knowing your blood pressure are extremely important.”

Other health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and high cholesterol may highlight the need for earlier treatment of high blood pressure, she says.

The earlier in life you begin treating blood-pressure issues, the healthier you will be, Dr. Nesbitt says. People with risk factors for high blood pressure should aim to keep body weight in the normal range; lose weight if needed; maintain a low-salt/high-fiber diet; and exercise regularly – about 30 minutes at least four days each week.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/heartlungvascular to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services for heart, lung and vascular conditions, including hypertension.

Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson

Return to November 2010 News Tips

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