BOSTON (CBS) — According to a new study from the Journal of the American Heart Association, most African-Americans develop high blood pressure by age 55.

Researchers followed nearly 4,000 young adults over time and found that more than 75-percent of black men and women had developed high blood pressure by the time they turned 55, compared to about 50-percent of white men and 40-percent of white women.

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The disparity is largely due to higher rates of obesity and diabetes among black Americans, but they also tend to be more sensitive to salt than other racial groups.

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Experts say young African-Americans should be monitored closely and counseled about lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, that can lower their risk of hypertension.

The definition of high blood pressure was recently redefined as a level greater than 130/80.

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Dr. Mallika Marshall