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Cardiovascular Health Tip: African American Women, Watch Out For the “Silent Killer”

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High Blood Pressure related image Photo: Getty Images

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is known as the “silent killer,” because you may have it and not even know you have it. You can’t hear high blood pressure. High blood pressure is dangerous because the increased blood flow can cause arteries to become blocked with blood fats quicker. African-Americans are roughly 40 percent more likely than other race groups to develop high blood pressure, and at an earlier age too.

According to the American Heart Association website, “Researchers have also found that there may be a gene that makes African-Americans much more salt sensitive. This trait increases the risk of developing HBP. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram of salt (half a teaspoon) could raise blood pressure as much as five millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).”

Being diagnosed with hypertension doesn’t mean you will be destined to pop pills the rest of your life. For many, following guidelines for a healthy lifestyle can help control and manage high blood pressure.

Do you have a question about Heart Attacks, Stroke and Cardiovascular Health? Check out EmpowHER’s pages. Sign-up, post a question, share your story, connect with other women in our groups and community, and feel EmpowHERed!

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High Blood Pressure and African-Americans

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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