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Minorities Less Likely to Have Blood Pressure Under Control
Date:9/23/2009

Blacks have the highest readings, despite taking medications, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks and Hispanics with a history of stroke or coronary artery disease have higher blood pressure than whites, while Hispanics are less likely to be prescribed medications to control it, a new U.S. study shows.

About 63 percent of whites, 58 percent of Hispanics and 40 percent of blacks had blood pressure readings that fell within national guidelines, the researchers found.

"There was a significant disparity in achievement of blood pressure goals among African Americans as compared to whites or Hispanics," said senior study author Dr. Nerses Sanossian, associate director of the Stroke Center at University of Southern California.

The study was to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Chicago.

Researchers evaluated data on blood pressure levels from 517 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who reported having had either a stroke or coronary artery disease. About 12 percent of participants were Hispanic and 25 percent were black.

National recommendations call for most adults to keep their blood pressure under a reading of 140 for the top number and 90 for the lower number, while diabetics should keep it under 130/80.

"The greatest risk factor for having a heart attack or stroke is having a previous heart attack or stroke," Sanossian said. "Blood pressure control is one of the cornerstones of prevention. This is a group of people in whom prevention is really crucial."

Reasons for the disparities may include lifestyle or economic factors, genetics and differences in the quality of health care received, the researchers said.

While blacks and whites reported being prescribed blood pressure medications at similar rates, blood pressure was not as well-controlle
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