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High Perceived Stress Tied to Higher Blood Pressure in Blacks

Association persisted after adjustment for demographic, clinical, and behavioral factors

african american man getting blood pressure checked

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- African-Americans with higher perceived stress over time may be at increased risk for developing hypertension, according to a study published online Oct. 16 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Tanya M. Spruill, Ph.D., from New York University in New York City, and colleagues examined the association between perceived stress levels and incident hypertension using data from 1,829 African-American participants in the Jackson Heart Study who were free of hypertension at baseline (2000 to 2004). Follow-up occurred through 2012 (median, 7.0 years).

The researchers found a hypertension incidence of 48.5 percent. Hypertension developed in 30.6 percent of intervals with low perceived stress, 34.6 percent of intervals with moderate perceived stress, and 38.2 percent of intervals with high perceived stress. In an age-, sex-, and time-adjusted analysis, the risk ratios for incident hypertension during moderate and high perceived stress intervals were 1.19 and 1.37, respectively, versus low perceived stress intervals. This association persisted following further adjustment for demographic, clinical, and behavioral factors as well as baseline stress.

"Given the disproportionately high burden of hypertension in African-Americans, determining if chronic stress increases the risk of hypertension in this population is an important question that could guide prevention strategies," Spruill said in a statement.

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