Risky Living

High blood pressure risk greatest among economically disadvantaged

MONDAY, July 15, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- If you're at the bottom of the socieconomic ladder, a new study suggests you're at the top for risk of high blood pressure.

The American Heart Association reports that researchers evaluated 8,555 people -- 6,800 whites and 1,344 blacks -- who had participated in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, which evaluated participants' blood pressure and use of blood pressure medication every three years for nine years. At the beginning of the study, all had what was considered high blood pressure.

Factors looked at included household income; median residence value; and percentage of households receiving interest, dividends or net rental income. Also included was the percentage of adults with high school or college education and percentage of adults with ranks of executive, managerial, professional or specialty occupations.

The study, funded in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and published in tomorrow's issue of Circulation, found the risk of high blood pressure was 95 percent higher for whites who scored lowest in all four categories. The risk for blacks was 43 percent higher.

Researchers say the difference btween the ethnic groups is probably because blacks are more likely than whites to have high blood pressure.

More information

The National Center for Health Statistics has the hard facts about hypertension.

SOURCE: American Heart Association news release, July 15, 2002
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