- May 27, 2020
Hypertension among minorities
TheUnited States is racially diverse. The country’s census recognizessix racial categories of Pacific Islanders, Hawaiians, Whites,Africans, Asians, Alaskans and Native Americans. Whites are themajority while African Americans constitute the largest racialminority amounting to about 13.2% of the total population1.Recent studies have indicated that minorities are often disadvantagedwhen seeking employment, health care services, and education2.These disparities have in turn affected health care. For example, itis evident that there are more cases of hypertension among minoritygroups compared to the rest of the population.
Hypertensionis characterized with high blood pressure in arteries. It is linkedto stroke, heart failure, coronary heart disease among others. Thedisease is caused by genetic and environmental factors. The mostcommon cause is however related to the kind of lifestyle which anindividual decides to live3.Those who enjoy sedentary lifestyles and are not engaged in physicalactivities tend to have a lot of fat deposits in their blood vesselshence increasing one`s susceptibility to the disease.
CDCstates that having elevated blood pressure puts one at more risk ofheart disease and stroke4.Further research also indicates that one in every three adults hashypertension. The most affected aggregates are minority groups.African Americans top the list of the most affected minority groupsat 43 %5.Among African-Americans, women tend to have more incidences ofhypertension than their male counterparts.
Causesof hypertension among minority groups
Oneof the leading cause of hypertension among minority groups issocioeconomic status. Studies have indicated that racial minoritygroups attain low-level education and income. For example, in theyear 2008, it was estimated that 295 of the total adult population inthe United States had at least a bachelor`s degree. Among theseaggregates, 33 % are white, 20% black adults and 13% of Hispanicadults6.The high indices suggest that when it comes to knowledge on healthcare matters, minority groups are less knowledgeable and thereforemore susceptible to hypertension.
Sincelow income is linked to poverty, it is evident that minority groupsare poorer and this is likely to affect their health status. Thecosts of organic foods which are rich in nutrients are high in theUnited States. Minority groups are therefore forced to purchase cheapproducts which add little nutritional value to the body. Some of thereadily available fast foods are rich in fat content and have a lotof calories. Following frequent exposure to such foods, it is evidentthat there will be a lot of fat deposits in the body and this tend toincrease the likelihood of high blood pressure because the heart willexperience more difficulties pumping blood in the narrow lumen ofarteries.
Highincidences of hypertension among minority groups such as AfricanAmerican can also be attributed to cultural differences. In manycases, people often go for diagnosis for diseases and conditions thatare more prevalent among their population. Studies suggest thatmajority of African-Americans believe that health is dependent ondestiny and fate7.Additionally, mothers with obese children do not believe that obesityshould be of serious concerns during early stages of childrendevelopment. Lack of adequate knowledge and lack of access to qualityand cheap health services is also another major determinant ofhealth.
Solutionsto the problems
Severalinterventions can be implemented to manage cases of hypertensionamong racial minority groups. For example, there is the need for masseducation among minority groups on high blood pressure. The mostaffected aggregates such as women and children need to be taughtabout associated risk factors and potential foods that causehypertension8.Consequently, young children should be encouraged to take part inphysical activities so that they can burn extra calories.
Peopleshould also be encouraged to reduce daily salt intake and have theirblood pressure check or monitored regularly. This will allowphysicians to detect any deviations from the normal and appropriateactions taken. Other lifestyles such as smoking have also been linkedto high blood pressure9.Vulnerable people should be discouraged from smoking and takingalcohol. Those who are already under treatment should also beencouraged to complete their medications.
Hypertensionis a serious medical condition and should, therefore, be handled withcare. Some of the complications that may arise if high blood pressureis not managed accordingly include stroke and heart diseases. Theseare among the main causes of death in the United States. There aremore cases of hypertension among minority groups because ofsocioeconomic factors such as low income and education which limittheir ability to access quality and affordable health services.However, the good thing is that there are preventions measures thatcan be adopted to save this population. Affected people can beencouraged to take part in physical activities and monitor theirdiet.
CDCFeatures (2016)– Tips for Minorities: Hypertension Prevention. Cdc.gov.Retrieved 22 November 2016, fromhttp://www.cdc.gov/features/hypertensionminorities/
Gu,Q., Burt, V. L., Dillon, C. F., & Yoon, S. (2012). Trends inantihypertensive medication use and blood pressure control amongUnited States adults with hypertension the National Health andNutrition Examination Survey, 2001 to 2010. Circulation, 126(17),2105-2114.
Guo,F., He, D., Zhang, W., & Walton, R. G. (2012). Trends inprevalence, awareness, management, and control of hypertension amongUnited States adults, 1999 to 2010. Journalof the American College of Cardiology, 60(7),599-606.
Sorlie,P. D., Allison, M. A., Avilés-Santa, M. L., Cai, J., Daviglus, M.L., Howard, A. G., & Wassertheil-Smoller, S. (2014). Prevalenceof hypertension, awareness, treatment, and control in the HispanicCommunity Health Study/Study of Latinos. Americanjournal of hypertension,003.
1 CDC Features (2016) – Tips for Minorities: Hypertension Prevention. Cdc.gov. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/features/hypertensionminorities/
2 Sorlie, P. D., Allison, M. A., Avilés-Santa, M. L., Cai, J., Daviglus, M. L., Howard, A. G., & Wassertheil-Smoller, S. (2014). Prevalence of hypertension, awareness, treatment, and control in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. (American journal of hypertension, 003).
3 Gu, Q., Burt, V. L., Dillon, C. F., & Yoon, S. (2012). Trends in antihypertensive medication use and blood pressure control among United States adults with hypertension the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001 to 2010 (Circulation, 126(17), 2105-2114).
4 CDC Features (2016).
5 CDC Features (2016).
6 Guo, F., He, D., Zhang, W., & Walton, R. G. (2012). Trends in prevalence, awareness, management, and control of hypertension among United States adults, 1999 to 2010. (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 60(7), 599-606).
7 Guo, He, Zhang & Walton, 2012, p 601
8 Sorlie et al. 2014, p 4
9 Sorlie et al. 2014, p 7