Higher Blood Pressure Among Blacks NOT Genetic

Higher Blood Pressure Among Blacks is not Genetic

A new study shows blacks may not be more likely to have high blood pressure and related conditions such as stroke and obesity than whites. High rates of hypertension might have more to do with lifestyle than with racial origin, say researchers from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill.

Previous studies have led to the assumption that people of African descent are genetically predisposed to high blood pressure. However, this conclusion was based on data only collected on black populations in the United States and not on international black populations.

Richard Cooper, M.D., and his team compared blood pressure of black populations in Nigeria, Jamaica and the United States, and whites in the United States, Canada and five European countries.

When viewed internationally, there is a wide variation of high blood pressure among blacks and whites. Results show hypertension in people of African origin ranges from 14 percent to 44 percent, while in white populations it ranges from 27 percent to 55 percent.

Most importantly, say the researchers, the study revealed blacks in Nigeria have a hypertension rate that's more than half the rate of white Europeans and Americans.

Results also show the incidence of high blood pressure among blacks seems to increase with industrialization. The total prevalence in Nigerians ages 35 to 64 is 13.5 percent, in Jamaicans it is 28.6 percent, and in U.S. blacks, it is 44 percent.

The study authors conclude the impact of environmental factors among both populations may have previously been underestimated.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com Reported January 5, 2005

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