Study links segregation to higher blood pressure among black adults
Black adults living in subdivisions with people of other races were twice as likely to have lower blood pressure than their segregated counterparts, a new study says.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) documented a 25-year study of 2,280 black adults who had participated in a 1985-86 research project called Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.
Although there was a slight but noticeable change in the systolic blood pressure readings between the two groups, investigators found no change between the groups’ diastolic pressure, according to a press release.
This study is regarded as more accurate than a similar project, the Framingham Heart Study, which began in the late 1940s, according to Danielle Jones, who manages the Center for Diversity and Health Equity, a branch of the AAFP.
“The significance of the data collected as part of the CARDIA study is that its participants were more racially/ethnically diverse than the largely white population of the Framingham study, which did not enroll a racially/ethnically diverse cohort until 1994," Jones told AAFP News, according to the release.
Jones said the difference in blood pressure in segregated versus desegregated groups may hinge on factors such as stress and availability of health resources.
“Family physicians should be aware that patients living in highly segregated communities may potentially be at an elevated risk for these conditions,” Jones said. “These environments may also activate the biochemical stress response, which in turn causes an increase in the systolic blood pressure or hypertension.”
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