A new study claims that sex, race and the place of residence influences incidence of high blood pressure.
"Where you live, your race, and your gender strongly influence your risk of developing high blood pressure as you move from young adulthood into middle age — and hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke," said Deborah A. Levine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.
The researchers examined data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study that followed young people from Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn. and Oakland, Calif., from the time they were 18-30 years old.
"In addition, independently of where they live, blacks — especially black women — are at markedly higher risk of hypertension even after we took into account factors that are known to affect blood pressure, such as physical activity and obesity," Levine said.
More research is needed to understand the geographic and racial differences in high blood pressure documented in this study as well as the potential biological, environmental and genetic mechanisms, Levine said.
"In the meantime, people at higher risk can benefit from close monitoring of their blood pressure and paying attention to risk factors such as obesity and physical activity," Levine concluded.
The study is reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.