Prehypertension is blood pressure ranging between 120/80 mm Hg and 139/89 mm Hg. Hypertension is 140/90 mm Hg or higher. Previous research has shown that coronary heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure are more common among blacks than whites.
“The fact that African-Americans progress faster to hypertension has a direct link to the higher prevalence of hypertension and its complications, such as stroke and kidney disease, in blacks than whites,” said Anbesaw Selassie, Dr.P.H., lead researcher and an epidemiologist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
Selassie and his colleagues analyzed electronic health records from 197 community-based clinics in theSoutheastern U.S.from 2003-2009. Patients didn’t have high blood pressure at the beginning of the study. Thirty percent of the patients were black and 70 percent were white.
The researchers analyzed each person’s relative risk of progressing from prehypertension to high blood pressure as a function of race, accounting for the effects of other factors that could affect risk, including age, sex, weight, initial blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease.
The study results suggest a strong need for more aggressive early interventions and lifestyle changes for African-Americans with prehypertension.