Hypertension and African- American Women
Hypertension is an extremely common malady within the African-American community. It wreaks its havoc indiscriminately: across elusive socioeconomic lines, educational attainment, profession, or region of the country. As women of color have made impressive strides toward equality in the workplace, so too has the morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular disease shown an upward spiral. For too long hypertension has been the "silent killer" of American blacks. The reasons are not subtle. Unfortunately the disease plays a very cruel hoax upon its victims. Time and time again patients remark that they feel fine--"I just have a little 'pressure'"-- only to be struck down in the prime of life with a debilitating or fatal cerebrovascular accident or stroke. The data are clear that control of blood pressure can reduce the incidence of stroke; but, again, many patients are unable to achieve that control for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: lack of access to a health care provider, inability to afford the medications, intolerable side effects of medications, lack of close follow-up by the treating physician and inattention to inadequately controlled blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and stress.
An important but often overlooked critical factor is that hypertension is a multisystem disease--it negatively affects the heart, blood vessels, brain, liver, lungs, eyes, and kidneys. So an inattention to proper control of the