To help determine why residents in certain areas of the country are more prone to heart disease and stroke, researchers looked at blood pressure. A study published by the American Heart Association followed participants for 20 years.
Among the findings were that race and gender are two major factors in predicting a person's chances of being diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Even after adjusting for external factors, the researchers found that African-American women are at an increased risk of developing hypertension.
"Independently of where they live, blacks - especially black women - are at markedly higher risk of hypertension even after we took into account factors that are known to affect blood pressure, such as physical activity and obesity," says study lead author and University of Michigan assistant professor Deborah Levine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says approximately a third of American adults have high blood pressure. Given the high correlation between the condition and more serious health conditions, people often pay more for life insurance.
Health experts recommend avoiding sodium as it can raise blood pressure levels.