Hypertension (High Blood Pressure):Silent Killer
A larger percentage of black Americans have hypertension or high
blood pressure than any other ethnic or racial group. However,
several research studies have shown no association between
African genetic ancestry and high blood pressure. Although
genetic factors likely play some role, social factors like stress and perceived
racial discrimination have been implicated as contributors to
high blood pressure.
What is High Blood Pressure?
The heart pumps blood through small tube -like structures
called arteries to all parts of your body. As blood flows through
your arteries, it pushes with a force against their walls. This
force, which does not remain constant , is called blood pressure.
Blood pressure rises and falls during each day. When blood
pressure becomes higher than the accepted normal range and
remains so, this is called high blood pressure or hypertension.
Most of the time, high blood pressure or hypertension has no
warning signs or symptoms.
High blood pressure can be measured or diagnosed using simple,
non-invasive instruments. The measurement is given or expressed
as two numbers. The top number is called systolic, the bottom
number is called diastolic.
- Systolic- measures pressure when the heart beats
- Diastolic-measures pressure when heart rests between
- For example: 110/80 (Read as 110 over 80)
- Less than 120/80 is considered normal blood
- 140/90 or more is considered too high.
What causes High Blood Pressure?
- There are two main type of hypertension, primary and
- Most people have primary hypertension. There is no known
cause of primary hypertension.
- Research studies have shown an association between primary
high blood pressure and socioeconomic status, stress,perceived
racial discrimination, level of education and decreased physical
activity in black Americans.
- Secondary hypertension is the result of some other disease or
Health Problems Caused By High Blood Pressure
- Damage to the Heart (Heart Failure, Heart Attack)
- Damage to the Brain (Stroke)
- Damage to Kidneys (Renal Disease )
- Damage to the Eyes (Retinopathy)
How can I Prevent or Control High Blood Pressure?
- Eat healthy diet
- Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grain bread and
cereal, poultry, fish
- Lower Your Blood Pressure With DASH (A sample dietary
guide to help you)
- Walk , Bicycle, Run
- Find an activity you like and stick with it
- Stop Smoking
- Limit Alcohol
DASH Diet, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Hypertension Improvement Through Healthy Lifestyle
Modification, Rigsby, Brenda, ABNF Journal, Spring 2011,Vol
22, Issue 2, p 41-43.
Education, Genetic Ancestry, and Blood Pressure in African
Americans and Whites, Non, Amy L., Gravlee, Clarence C.,
Mulligan, Connie J., Am J Public Health, 2012, 102, p
Last updated: 13-July-2016
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