Doctors aren’t sure why high blood pressure (BP) is more common in blacks. But the facts are that more blacks in the US have high BP than any other group in the US. About 45% of black men and 46% of black women have high BP. It also affects blacks at a younger age than other Americans.

High BP seems to be harder to treat in blacks, too. Blacks are also more likely to die from heart disease and strokes. 

It is possible that blood pressure risk is inherited. But health behaviors, like diet and exercise, also differ from one ethnic group to another. Other factors related to high blood pressure can differ from group to group. These include poverty, educational level, stress, and racial discrimination. Probably all of these explain the blood pressure difference between blacks and other people, at least in part.

Blacks are more likely to know they have high blood pressure than non-blacks. But some standard treatments for high blood pressure are less effective in blacks.  Doctors think there might be inherited traits in all of us that affect the way our body responds to medicines. Early drug studies often just looked at white people. So, the results may not be as true for blacks. This means the recommended treatments may not work as well in blacks.