NYC Blacks More Likely To Have High Blood Pressure

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New York City blacks have the highest rate of high blood pressure of any racial or ethnic group in the city, according to a report released on Wednesday by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Staten Island Advance reports.

The report -- led by Sonia Angell, director of cardiovascular prevention and control at the health department -- says that 33% of blacks have the condition, compared with 26% of Hispanics and 21% of whites. Overall, 750,000 New York City residents have high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. In addition, blacks in the city also are more likely than whites to die of both heart disease and stroke, according to the Advance.

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Angell said blacks in New York City as well as other urban areas are disproportionately affected by genetic and social factors that contribute to high blood pressure, such as obesity and poverty. According to the Advance, blacks have a 50% higher rate of obesity than whites, are predisposed to diabetes and also have an increased sensitivity to salt. Other factors such as stress, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise also contribute to developing high blood pressure, for any ethnic group. Theodore Strange, associate chair of medicine at Staten Island University Hospital, said that blacks are more likely than others to have higher levels of two hormones -- angiotensin and renin -- that regulate blood pressure levels.

Angell said, "More exercise, less salt, more fruits and vegetables -- these are the keys to prevention" (Rich, Staten Island Advance, 9/25).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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