April 4, 2013
One to three adults in the United States will have hypertension, high blood pressure, in their lifetimes. The condition can be a predecessor for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in the United States.
“Approximately 41 percent of African American males have nearly double the incidence of high blood pressure, compared to their Caucasian counterparts,” said Dr. Anil Hingorani, a vascular surgeon at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. “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 high blood pressure. In addition, they develop high blood pressure at younger ages than other ethnic groups in the United States and are more likely to have complications associated with high blood pressure, including stroke, kidney disease, blindness, dementia and heart disease.”
Hingorani noted that black 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 high blood pressure.
“Some Black men do not like the current medical system, taking medications, or meeting regularly and talking with one health professional for consistent high blood pressure measurement,” Hingorani said, “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.”
Hingorani recommends that people get regular blood pressure checkups, and if needed, take the proper medications to lower their blood pressure.
To learn more about your vascular health, visit the Society for Vascular Surgery’s website at www.VascularWeb.org.