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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Lifetime Risk of Hypertension Exceeds 85 Percent for African-Americans

More than 85 percent of African-American men and women are likely to develop hypertension in their lifetimes based on the new cutoff for high blood pressure established in the 2017 U.S. guidelines, researchers reported March 27 in JAMA Cardiology.

A substantially higher proportion of white and black men and women will have an office measurement above the 130/80 mm Hg threshold between the ages of 20 and 85, the analysis found, compared to the previous definition of 140/90 mm Hg set forth in the Seventh Joint National Commission (JNC7) guidelines. But the racial gap in hypertension prevalence also narrows among men with the new definition, suggesting more white men fall within the 130/80 to 140/90 range than black men.

“Quantitation of the cumulative lifetime risks for hypertension may help public health officials identify groups at high risk for hypertension who may benefit from more aggressive lifestyle modification, screening, and medical therapy to prevent associated illnesses later in life,” wrote lead author Mr. Vincent Chen and colleagues with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Existing estimates of lifetime risks for hypertension are based on JNC7 thresholds, are limited in racial diversity, or do not provide risk estimates over the entire adult life course.”

To update these estimates with the newer cutoffs, the researchers pooled data from three contemporary U.S. cohorts including large numbers of black and white participants who were enrolled at a median age of 25. The final analysis set featured 13,160 participants who were followed for a total of 227,600 person-years.

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