Researchers say Ethnic-Related Stressors Contribute to High Blood Pressure
Reasons for disparities, based on race, culture, and ethnicity in the prevalence of hypertension in the U.S are not well understood. With the use of data from a multiple ethnicity atherosclerosis study, researchers Mujahid and colleagues (2011) investigated whether certain individual and neighborhood chronic stressors contributed to high blood pressure disparities.
The study group consisted of approximately 2,700 residents of New York, Baltimore and North Carolina, ranging from 45 to 84 years old. Individual chronic stressors were determined by self-reported burden and perceived everyday and/or major discrimination. Measurements of chronic neighborhood stressors (i.e. violence, physical disorder) were ascertained using information from a telephone survey conducted with other residents of these neighborhoods.
The incidence of hypertension was almost 60% among African Americans, close to 44% among Hispanics and 42% among whites. The researchers made adjustments for age, sex, individual and neighborhood stressors, acculturation, education and income, as well as other neighborhood features. After careful evaluation, they concluded that chronic neighborhood stressors may be a contributing factor in the prevalence of U.S. race, culture and ethnicity differences with respect to hypertension.
Pathophysiology of Hypertension
The degree of force which the blood exerts on the arterial walls while moving throughout your body is called blood pressure (BP). Arteries carry blood away from the heart to the remainder of the body. When the heart beats, it causes blood to travel through the arteries. As the blood circulates, it puts a certain amount of pressure on the arterial walls.
Hypertension (elevated blood pressure) results when blood courses through the arteries at a higher than normal pressure. Several different factors can contribute to high blood pressure. If it gets too high or remains elevated for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to other health problems like heart attack, stroke and chronic kidney disease.
Types of Hypertension
There are two classifications of hypertension:
Primary Hypertension: Also known as essential hypertension, there is no known cause for this type of elevated blood pressure. Usually, it takes several years to develop and results from lifestyle, environmental and aging factors.
Secondary Hypertension: This type of the condition develops when a health problem or medication causes your persistent elevation in blood pressure. Contributors to secondary hypertension include:
• Certain drugs (i.e. birth control pills, NSAIDs, corticosteroids)
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Kidney problems
• Sleep apnea
Patient First Wellness Treats Hypertension
To adequately treat your high blood pressure, the Las Vegas doctors at Patient First Wellness will use a three step process. This includes:
Step One: Diagnosis
There is no other way to determine if you have high blood pressure other than to have it checked with a blood pressure monitor. The higher your blood pressure readings, the more frequently you will want to check them. The board certified doctors at Patient First Wellness likely want to monitor your blood pressure until it has been brought under control with lifestyle changes or antihypertensive medications. After that, your doctor visits will probably only be necessary once per year.
Step Two: Monitoring
The doctor may request that you monitor your own blood pressure at home between visits to the office. Good quality digital blood pressure machines, designed for home use, are available at pharmacies and department stores ranging in price from $40 to $60. Your doctor will want you to keep a BP journal and bring it the office for evaluation. Another way to get extremely accurate BP readings is to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for either 24 or 48 hours. This monitor is taped to your body and you wear it constantly while going about your daily activities. After it is removed, your doctor will be able to see if your blood pressure fluctuates greatly over the course of a day or if it is high all the time.
Step Three: Treatment
Treatment will likely begin with making some healthy lifestyle changes. If this does not bring your BP down sufficiently, then you will be put on one or more medications. Life style changes can be things as simple as:
• Avoiding smoking
• Losing some pounds, if you’re overweight
• Incorporating exercise into your daily routine (i.e. walking, aerobics)
• Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables and other low fat alternatives
• Cutting back on your salt, alcohol and/or caffeine intake
• Trying yoga or other types of relaxation techniques
Patient’s Choice Medical Center Urges You to Not Gamble with Your Health
Many Las Vegas urgent care clinics have long wait times and charge high fees for services. As a result, many people (both locals and visitors) often neglect their health because they can’t afford to pay the medical bills. These individuals could actually be gambling with their lives, if they put off having any medical concerns looked into for too long. Hypertension is a prime example of such a condition that needs treatment.