Hypertension: Another Condition That Continues To Plague African Americans

The causes of high blood pressure in Black Americans and how to control it

By: Taren Vaughan

As African Americans, there are a number of medical conditions that plague our race. One of the most prevalent conditions that affect our people is hypertension. Hypertension, better known as high blood pressure, is extremely common amongst African Americans. For us, the condition has the likelihood to develop when we are younger.

Why is it that we as black people are so susceptible to developing hypertension?

There are a few key factors as to why black people are more likely to develop high blood pressure than other racial groups. Our genetic composition plays a huge part in our development of hypertension. The saying “things run in my family” deems to be true when it comes to high blood pressure. Research has shown that our bodies do not respond as well to high blood pressure medications than other groups. Our bodies are also said to be more sensitive to salts. Due to this, water retention becomes a problem for us, landing us right in the high blood pressure category.

Now we can’t place all the blame on genetics. Socioeconomic factors are definitely influential when it comes to high blood pressure. There are a number of black families that have low household incomes. And we all know that having a low household income affects the quality of food that the family consumes. Fast food items and meals high in fat and sodium are daily meals for these individuals because they can’t afford healthier foods. What is the potential outcome of this situation? You guessed it. An entire family plagued by hypertension.

Before we can tackle our hypertension problems, we need to know what is considered high when it comes to blood pressure. A person who has a systolic blood pressure of 140 or greater and a diastolic blood pressure of 90 or greater is said to suffer from hypertension. Some people think that having high blood pressure is no big deal. They take a couple tablets of blood pressure medication and they’re good to go right? Wrong.

The truth of the matter is that hypertension can cause serious health problems. It can increase a person’s chances of experiencing other health issues including kidney problems, stroke and heart disease. Luckily, there are ways to combat hypertension.

One of the most affective methods in controlling your blood pressure is by monitoring your food intake. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension calls for us to consume less foods that contain saturated fats and to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods. Minimizing your salt intake also helps with maintaining a healthy BP. Be sure to get adequate amounts of exercise and take your prescribed medications as well.

Having hypertension is not the end of the world. It is a health condition that can be controlled. Developing good habits can make your high blood pressure more manageable and decrease the number of medications that you have to take.

Source: WebMD

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