Hypertension and the Black Race
Various studies show it clearly, there is a clear prevalence of Hypertension in African Americans. Hypertension or also called the “silent killer” can over time cause many life threatening conditions. Are this allegations actually proven? And if so, why are individuals from African descent more likely to develop Hypertension?
Looking at the numbers
The CDC – Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reports that today 1 in 3 American Adults have High Blood Pressure. Shockingly 1 in 3 American Adults are estimated to suffer from prehypertension.
Aging is one known factor to play a significant role in the statistics increase of High Blood Pressure. In general females are just as likely as their male counterparts to develop this condition. However, in people under the age of 45 years, we can see that more men are affected by this disease.
Looking at the occurrence of Hypertension by race, it soon becomes clear that there is a significant higher number in African Americans. The below chart indicates that African Americans are at the highest risk of races in America.
Hypertension in African Americans
|Race of Ethnic Group||Men (%)||Women (%)|
Natural environment plays a significant role
The race not necessarily to blame
An international study conducted in 2005 shows that the risk of developing High Blood Pressure is the same in both subjects. (European and African decent)
About 85,000 participants worldwide were part of the study. Results show the prevalence for hypertension is not unusually high in the Black population. Hypertension prevelance in individuals from European descent varied between 27 % – 55 %, among people from African descent the percentage was from around 14 % – 44 %. What seems to be far more relevant is the geographic location of High Blood Pressure in people from African descent. This suggests that there is an environmental impact that leads to higher numbers, and this as well in both races.
Although this study helps to understand that Blacks are not the only victim of high Hypertension rates, it still confirms that due to a change of environment millions of years ago, has an effect on us today.
Knowing this brings us a step closer in preventing more cases of Hypertension in African Americans. After all it is the lifestyle we choose, not the race we are born with, that plays the major factor.
What are Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
General risk factors that should be considered. This is not just for Hypertension in African Americans, but for everyone.
- Age: Woman are at higher risk for Hypertension after the age of 65. Men are at risk as early as from 45 years of age.
- Family History: As with many other diseases, High Blood pressure can run in the family. Being aware of this can make a huge impact. If you know that a family member suffered from High Blood pressure, make sure you keep your Blood Pressure in check.
- Chronic conditions: Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetes, Sleep apnea and others can increase your Blood pressure levels.
- Race: It is advised that people from African descent maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent an increase in Blood Pressure.
After all the general lifestyle matters, and especially when it comes to High Blood Pressure. You will put yourself at risk in developing Hypertension by unhealthy habits such as:
- Overweight: A larger body needs more nutrients, more oxygen and more blood. With the increase in blood, the pressure on the blood vessels increase as well and result in a higher overall Blood Pressure.
- Sodium consumption: High levels of sodium in
the body can cause the Blood pressure to rise. It is highly recommended to lower Sodium intake.
- Smoking: The effects of smoking on our health are no secret. Smoking thightens blood vessels in your body, which in return puts more strain on your heart to pump the blood through.
- Tabaco: The chemicals used in Tabaco can damage artery walls. So, not only smoking Tabaco but also chewing Tabaco can result in High Blood Pressure.
- Unhealthy Eating habits: A diet high in salt, sugar and saturated fat. Not enough nutrient rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes etc. Eating foods high in sodium and low in potassium.
- Alcohol consumption
- Inactivity: Regular exercise is one of the best counter actors for Hypertension. Regular Activity levels widen blood vessels and make sure the blood passes thoroughly easy.
- Low levels of Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps your kidneys to regulate your Blood pressure. A constant lack of Vitamin D is associated with higher readings of Blood Pressure.
- Stress: Too often we underestimate the effects that stress can have on our body. Stress makes us sick, that is a fact. Relaxation is an important part of our life’s that is unfortunately too often neglected.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is a disease in which blood flows through the arteries at higher than normal pressure. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body and contributes to ..