Prevalence of High Blood Pressure among African Americans


According to the centers for disease control and prevention, heart related complications (stroke and heart disease) are the leading cause of death in the U.S. The U.S government spends close to $500 billion annually on programs that address this challenge. Heart diseases are characterized by a growing disparity amongst different ethnic communities. One of the ethnic groups significantly affected by this epidemic is the African American group. African Americans have been found to suffer disproportionately from hypertension, a common risk factor for heart related complications. This paper endeavors to provide an analysis of various print literatures that address the prevalence of high blood pressure among African Americans.

A Study on the importance of adhering to self care activities

Warren-Findlow and Seymour (2011, p. 503) endeavored to “examine the prevalence of self care activities among African Americans with high blood pressure”. They also aimed at elucidating the differences between adherers and non adherers to self care activities. According to the authors, a comprehensive comprehension of self care activities that contribute to the control of blood pressure, can offer an explanation to health disparities experienced by African Americans (Warren-Findlow &Seymour, 2011). The authors recruited 186 participants who took part in the study. Hypertension self care activity levels effects scale (H-SCALE) was used to measure self care activities. H-SCALE is a measurement tool that was formulated to evaluate the behavioral activities that are required for the optimal management of high blood pressure. The results indicated that close to 58.5% of the participants adhere to medication recommendations. On the other hand, the study indicated that 52 % of the participants adhere to prescribed physical activities. Amazingly, the study established that a significant number (18%) of the participants did not adhere to the prescribed physical management practices. Non adherence of 22% was also observed in the participants who had been requested to maintain a low salt diet. The majority of the participants were non smokers, and a significant number of them (65%) were non alcoholics. The authors noted that females and older participants responded more positively to the self care exercises. In addition, a majority of the non adherers did not have health insurance. The authors concluded that most African Americans encounter challenges related to self healthcare especially those that require the management of weight and salt. The authors recommended that healthcare providers involved in the management of hypertensive patients should use H-SCALE in assessing self care practices of patients with high blood pressure (Warren-Findlow & Seymour, 2011). This article provides vital information on self care activities amongst African Americans and how they relate to the management of hypertension.

A study on Co-occurrence of risk factors in African American Adults

In another study, Baruth et al. investigated the prevalence and clustering of cardiovascular risk factors in a sample of African Americans drawn from a church in South Carolina. The authors based their study on earlier findings that indicate that co-occurrence of multiple risk factors tends to increase the morbidity or mortality of cardiovascular disease and that few studies have been conducted to elucidate the clustering of risk factors among African Americans in community based faith settings. The researchers employed a cross sectional analysis of baseline data retrieved from faith based intervention, nutrition and activity. The outcomes of the study relied on a number of factors. First, the authors considered self reported presence or absence of healthcare provider diagnosed diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. In addition, the researchers measured the body mass index, blood pressure and height of the participants. The researchers noted a number of results. The majority of the participants had hypertension (64%) and obesity (62%). 29 per cent of the participants had diabetes while 39 percent had high cholesterol. 24 percent of the participants were not found with any risk factors. Most importantly, a significant number of the participants had multiple risk factors. For instance, 10 percent of them had four risk factors while 24 per cent had three risk factors. On the other hand, 8 per cent percent had two risk factors. Hypertension and obesity topped the list of the most common risk cluster factors followed by a cluster of hypertension and high cholesterol. The cluster that included obesity, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol came third. The researchers concluded that the prevalence of risk factors and co-occurrence of risk factors is exceedingly high in African Americans (Baruth et al., 2011). The study offers vital findings that will enhance the comprehension of the topic at hand.

A study on MeS and hypertension in African American Adults

In addition, a study conducted by Fadia, Anna and Elijah was based on the findings of a previous study which indicate that metabolic syndrome (MeS) results from a cluster of related metabolic risk factors in an individual. MeS increases the risk of CVD and type two diabetes. Studies have shown that the metabolic syndrome is highly prevalent in the American population and most importantly amongst the African Americans. The authors indicate that since cardiovascular heart diseases have increased in the U.S, it is paramount to examine the effect of MeS so that preventative programs can be devised and implemented. The researchers aimed at elucidating the prevalence and predictors of metabolic syndrome in a selected urban population of Hypertensive African Americans. The researchers recruited 150 participants. In addition, risk factors for MeS were evaluated at baseline. They included high fatty acids, abdominal obesity, low HDL, hypertension and hyperglycemia.

The study found out that close to 40% of the participants had MeS (Fadia, Anna &Elijah, 2007). The researchers also learnt that type two diabetes played a significant role in the development of MeS (Fadia, Anna &Elijah, 2007). The study indicates a substantial prevalence of MeS in African Americans. The study conducted by Fadia, Anna and Elijah will be essential in explaining hypertension disparities amongst the African American population.

A study on the therapeutic management of Hypertension in African Americans

Furthermore, Batson, Belletti and Wogen endeavored to assess the influence of African American race on hypertension management amongst a real world hypertensive population. The cross sectional study conducted by Batson, Belletti and Wogen found out that African American hypertensive patients had a significant high blood pressure when compared to their Caucasian hypertensive counterparts. The study also found out that a significant number of African American diabetic and non diabetic patients were prescribed more antihypertensive drugs when compared to their Caucasian counterparts (Batson, Belletti & Wogen, 2010). On the other hand, “African Americans were likely to be prescribed calcium ion blockers and diuretics and less likely to be prescribed beta blockers” (Batson, Belletti & Wogen, 2010, p. 417). The study concluded that African American hypertensive patients were prescribed aggressive drugs when compared to their Caucasian counterparts. They also had lower probability of blood pressure control (Batson, Belletti & Wogen, 2010). The study will enhance the understanding of how African Americans therapeutically manage hypertension.


Heart diseases are characterized by a growing disparity amongst different ethnic communities. One of the ethnic groups significantly affected by this epidemic is the African American group. This literature review will provide a remarkable guide to the discussion of the topic under study.


Baruth, M. (2011). CVD Risk Factors among African Americans Udults. Journal of Ethincity and Disease , 21(2), 129-134.

Batson, B., Belletti, D., and Wogen, J. (2010). The Effect of African American race on Hypertension Management:A Real World Observatonal StudyAmong 28 U.S Physicain Practices. Journal of Ethinicity and Disease, 20(4),415-417.

Fadia, T., Anna, G., and Elijah, S. (2007). Original Paper: Metabolic syndrome prevalence in an urban African American population. Clinical Research & Reviews, 1(3),152-157.

Warren-Findlow,J., and Saymour, R. (2011). Prevalence Rates of Hypertension Self- care Activities Among African Americans. Journal of the National Medical Assocaition, 103(6), 503-512.

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