BP Basics

Hypertension and African Americans

Chronically high blood pressure is also known as hypertension. High blood pressure is something that increases with age and almost all Americans will face it at some point of time in their lives. In about 25% of the population this condition will become chronic and take the form of hypertension.  Hypertension may lead to other kinds of diseases such as stroke, heart disease or kidney failure. It has also been proven that in the American population, Afro-Americans are generally more susceptible to hypertension. The morbidity rate among in this group on account of  hypertension is also very high. 

Statistics shows that not only nearly 35% of African Americans suffer from hypertension, but also the condition will affect them at a relatively early age and they have are 80% more likely to die from a stroke on account of the condition. On account of their propensity to suffer from hypertension they are also vulnerable to heart disease and kidney failure.

The question that naturally arises is why African Americans are more prone to suffer from hypertension as compared to the white population. Before we go into that, let us dig a little deeper and understand more about blood pressure. 

In simple words, blood pressure is said to be the pressure of blood against your blood vessels. There are two types of blood pressure: systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is measured when the heart contracts and pumps blood. Diastolic blood pressure is the one when your heart rests between heart beats.
Due to some loosely described aspect of genetic composition, African Americans are "inherently disposed" to high blood pressure. The explanation is not all that gratifying, as the significance of racial or genetic characteristics is overemphasized here, but it does not affect the fact that African Americans are more susceptible to the disease.

There is a dire need of treating hypertension as it can give rise to other complications and prove fatal for the person suffering from it. Lowering blood pressure through a downward shift in the blood pressure distribution is the first step towards treating hypertension. Approaches targeting high risk populations, such as African Americans or those with a family history of hypertension and old people, would also be helpful in lowering the overall prevalence of hypertension.

Hypertension and African Americans are inherently related. Practical techniques are required to control blood pressure within this population group. There is a common held perception that hypertension among African Americans can not be controlled but it is not so. The disease can not only be controlled but can also be cured. What you need is to treat the problem early and aggressively.