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Blood pressure control inequality linked to deaths among blacks
Date:11/10/2008

and Lisa A. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H. They call on clinicians, researchers, health care administrators, health care planners and policy makers to work together to gain a better understanding of the barriers faced by ethnic minorities.

Hypertension is a precursor to cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States and which occurs at the highest rate among black Americans.

The researchers analyzed data of 1,545 black adults and 1,335 white adults. The mean blood pressure among blacks with hypertension was approximately six mm/Hg (millimeters of mercury) higher than that for the total adult black population and seven mm/Hg higher than that for whites with hypertension.

A reduction in mean blood pressure among blacks to that of whites would reduce the annual number of deaths among blacks from heart disease by 5,480 and from stroke by 2,190, the researchers concluded.

"There is evidence for racial disparity in patient adherence to antihypertensive medication, including studies conducted within the Veterans Administration Health System, where fewer differences in access appear to exist," the researchers state in the article. "Differences in adherence by race may be due to affordability of medicines, personal beliefs, anticipated adverse effects, and health literacy that disproportionately affect blacks. Although multiple causes may contribute to racial disparity in blood pressure control, this disparity is not inevitable. Disparity in hypertension control is significantly smaller in the Veterans Administration Health System, where access barriers are fewer."

Elimination of racial disparity in blood pressure control is an attainable goal, provided sufficient resources are available to discover and address adherence barriers, the researchers conclude.


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Contact: Michael Wentzel
Michael_Wentzel@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-1309
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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