High Blood Pressure Among Black People
The Impact of High Blood Pressure
The prevalence of high blood pressure among Black people in the United States is among the highest in the world.
About 55% of Black adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension or HBP. Black people also have disproportionately high rates of more severe HBP and it develops earlier in life.
Historical and systemic factors play a major role in these statistics. Among them are adverse social determinants of health, the conditions in which a person is born and lives. The determinants include lack of access to care, lack of access to healthy foods and other societal issues.
Lack of access to medication, and distrust of health care professionals based on historical discrimination, are among contributing factors to a lower adherence to blood pressure medications.
Certain medications also may be less effective in controlling HBP in some Black people, and they may require two or more medications to achieve their BP goal.
Factors Leading to HBP
Higher rates of obesity and diabetes increase the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. Statistics show Black people face disproportionately high rates of both conditions.
High blood pressure, when not controlled, can lead to other conditions and even death. HBP is a major risk factor for stroke, heart failure and kidney disease.
Overcoming the Challenges of Blood Pressure Management
A healthy weight and diet, plus physical activity, can go a long way toward lowering blood pressure. But many people struggle with these issues because they aren’t simple for everyone.
For example, Black neighborhoods lack stores that stock healthier foods. And areas that have historically lacked investment often don’t have safe places to walk, run or exercise.
Access to social support, safe environments and affordable, high-quality medical care and medications are key to managing blood pressure.