African-American men and risk of high blood pressure

Published On: Mar 26 2013 12:50:22 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 08 2013 11:06:27 AM EDT

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(NewsUSA) - One to three adults in the United States will have hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure (HBP), in their lifetime. The condition can be a predecessor for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in the United States. Ideally, adults should keep their blood pressure reading at 140 or under for the top number (systolic) and 90 for the lower number (diastolic). People who have diabetes or kidney disease should have numbers under 130/80.

"Approximately 41 percent of African-American males have nearly double the incidence of HBP, compared to their Caucasian counterparts," said Anil Hingorani, MD, a vascular surgeon at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. "Black Americans are more likely to have diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking issues, and high salt and fat in their diet -- all risk factors for developing HBP. In addition, they develop HBP at younger ages than other ethnic groups in the United States and are more likely to have complications associated with HBP, including stroke, kidney disease, blindness, dementia and heart disease."

Dr. Hingorani noted that African-Americans may be affected by stress due to racism, socioeconomic status, educational level, lack of access to quality care and insurance, and living in racially isolated neighborhoods, resulting in a higher incidence of HBP. "Some black men do not like the current medical system, taking medications, or meeting regularly and talking with one health professional for consistent HBP measurement," said Dr. Hingorani, "and some don't seek out preventative care because they don't feel any symptoms. As a result, they do not control the ups and downs of their blood pressure."

All Americans can get high blood pressure. Dr. Hingorani recommends that people meet with their health professional to get regular blood pressure checkups, and if needed, take the proper medications as prescribed by their physician to lower their blood pressure.

To learn more about your vascular health, visit the Society for Vascular Surgery's website at www.VascularWeb.org.

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