Harvard Heart Letter

The race to high blood pressure

People with prehypertension (systolic blood pressure from 120 to 139 or diastolic pressure from 80 to 89) go on to develop full-blown high blood pressure more often than people with normal blood pressure. Race seems to influence the pace of that progression.

In a study of nearly 19,000 people — about 30% black and 70% white — blacks progressed from prehypertension to truly high blood pressure a full year sooner than whites who followed that same path (Hypertension, published online Sept. 12, 2011).

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