High Blood Pressure affects nearly half of African-American adults under new high blood pressure guidelines

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SARASOTA, FL. (WWSB) - Hypertension is a condition Tim Bethel has lived with for more than 12-years. A condition that even affects what he does for a living.

"I'm a truck driver and you have to take D.O.T. physicals every year."

A problem he says is prevalent in the African-American community. Bethel says,

"A lot of people have it and don't even know it."

And he's right, according to the Center for Disease and Prevention--high blood pressure is more common among African-Americans than any other race.

Local Cardiologist Dr. Chippy Nalluri says with the new guidelines, African-Americans may develop risk factors such as obesity earlier in life, causing heart attacks or strokes. She says, "if you are 45 years of age and you have no history of high blood pressure. over the course of the next 40 years, your risk of developing high blood pressure is 93-percent."

But Nalluri says there's a way to bring that number down.

"you want to eat foods, not just low in sodium, you want to eat foods that are high in magnesium and high in potassium. So naturally these are going to be whole foods, meals rich in vegetables, whole grains and fruits."

Not only diet, according to Nalluri, but exercise as well.

"so much of high blood pressure is based on your lifestyle. you change your lifestyle and you could make dramatic reductions in blood pressure."