High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans

2006 words - 8 pages

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major health condition which affects many Americans. This health condition may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. A normal blood pressure consists of systolic blood pressure divided by diastolic blood pressure, 120/80mmHg (millimeters of mercury). High blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure which is greater than 140mm Hg, and diastolic pressure which is over 90mm Hg. Hypertension influences the health outcomes of black Americans more than other races in the United States. Racial discrimination and socioeconomic status are two major factors which influence the rate of high blood pressure in the black American population.
Hypertension is a developing problem worldwide,associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In 2020, the world population will be approximately 7.8 billion people, and there will be 1 billon people who may be affected by hypertension (Tomson & Lip, 2005). One in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure. According to the report “Health, United States, 2010 with Special Feature on Death and Dying,” the prevalence of hypertension among adults 20 years old or older increased from 24% to 32% during 1988-1994 and 2005-2008. The African-American population has a higher prevalence of this health condition than white Americans do. In 2005 to 2008, the prevalence of hypertension among black males (41.4%) was more than 10%, compared to white males at 31.5% of the population. The hypertension rate of black females was more than twice that of white females. The death rate from hypertension among black males was 51.8 per 100,000, and among black females was 40.4 per 100,000; however, the mortality of white males and females was 4 and 3 times lower than that of blacks respectively (Health, United States, 2010 With Special Feature On Death And Dying.2010) (Brown, Todd M., Adams, Robert J., 2009).
There is a positive association between racial discrimination and blood pressure that shows in African Americans who have had experiences of racial discrimination and unfair treatment. In the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study (1996), Krieger and Sidney studied self-reported experiences of unfair treatment and racism from 4,086 black and white men and women ages 25 to 37 years old. Krieger and Sidney found out that working class blacks reported experiencing two or more discrimination cases when getting a job or looking for housing. Their blood pressures were 7 mmHg higher than working class whites (Arriola, 2002; Barksdale, Farrug, & Harkness, 2009). This showed that working class blacks also had higher blood pressure than professional blacks (Leary, 1996). The professional black males who experienced one or two discrimination situations had higher rates of hypertension than those professional white males. In addition, the blood pressure of professional black females who had two or...

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