According to an earlier report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2006, about one in three Americans (at the age of 20 and above) developed the condition of hypertension while also stating that blacks were far more susceptible to this condition as opposed to the white and Hispanic ethnicities.

And this has led to new recommendations (in the form of a consensus statement) that were published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, which suggested lowering target blood pressure levels while starting hypertension treatment for blacks much earlier.

And these recommendations have been recently updated as the lead author of the statement, John M. Flack, MD, MPH, says "We feel that enough [data had been published] ... to adjust our recommendations for controlling blood pressure and reaching the target protection" of blacks.

And while the AHA considers blood pressure below 120/80 mmHg to be normal for healthy adults, these new recommendations instruct physicians to suggest lifestyle modifications for blacks when their blood pressure is at (or more than) 115/75 mmHg since it is at this point that the risk of hypertension-related condition begins increasing in blacks.

Some of these lifestyle modifications (to bring the blood pressure levels under control) include increased physical activity, weight loss, eating more fruits and vegetables, reducing alcohol consumption and eliminating tobacco use.

In addition, if the blood pressure levels exceed 135/85 mmHg, the statement instructs physicians to administer medication to blacks even if they do not cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure organ damage.

As for blacks that have health complications such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney or damage to organs, physicians should administer multiple antihypertensive medications as soon as their blood pressure levels exceed 130/ 80 mmHg.

And while some people consider this consensus statement to be unsupported in clinical data, the American Heart Association insists that these guidelines are not official guidelines but merely helpful information for physicians to treat blacks that are at a higher risk of high blood pressure than other ethnicities.

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