Study Examines Racial Disparities in High Blood Pressure
Environmental and potentially preventable factors may be thecause of racial disparities in high blood pressure. Previous studieshave implicated genetic factors. The current study, reported in BMCMedicine (January 5, 2005), compared the rates of hypertensionbetween African Americans and Caucasians in different populations.The population included blacks in Nigeria, Jamaica, and theUnited States. For Caucasians, populations in the United States,Canada, and 5 European countries were examined.
If racial origin played a significant role in high blood pressure,then rates for each race would be expected to be about the sameno matter where the individuals resided. The researchers, however,found wide variation in rates ranging from 14% for AfricanAmericans in some geographic regions to 44% in other places.In the Caucasian populations, the rates ranged from 27% to55%, depending on the individual's location.
Specifically, the lowest rate of high blood pressure (13.5%)was among blacks in Nigeria, while the highest (55.3%) wasamong Caucasians in Germany. The African American populationhad higher rates for individuals living in more industrializedplaces. The study found Nigerians had a rate of 13.5%,Jamaicans had a rate of 28.6%, and blacks in the United Stateshad a rate of 44%.