Blacks More Likely to Develop Hypertension After Brain-Bleed Strokes

Experts are not sure why this racial gap exists. 

Posted: 08/21/2012 06:09 PM EDT

New research on brain-bleed strokes suggests that African-Americans who suffer from them have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure than their white counterparts. Nearly 10 percent of all stroke victims suffer from hemorrhagic strokes, which occur when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Georgetown University studied 162 such stroke patients who were receiving care at Georgetown University Medical Center, according to HealthDay. After a year of research, they found that 63 percent of African-American patients had high blood pressure compared to 38 percent of white patients.

But the researchers say they’re not sure why the disparity exists among racial lines. Black patients, despite being twice as likely to be on high blood pressure medication to control their hypertension, still had the worst blood pressure.

"Blood pressure is not just about taking medications," said study author Dr. Darin Zahuranec, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, in a journal news release. "Patients can have a very large impact on blood pressure control by making changes to diet and exercise habits, and with weight loss. We need to do more for our patients to help them get their blood pressure under control."

Overall, the stroke and high blood pressure statistics for African-Americans are not encouraging.


—    Blacks are twice as likely to die from a stroke as their white counterparts.

—    Blacks have more severe and disabling strokes compared with whites.

—    African-Americans between the ages of 22 and 44 are 2.4 times more likely to have a stroke compared with whites.

—    African-Americans develop high blood pressure more often, and at an earlier age, than whites and Latinos.

—    Almost 46 percent of Black women suffer from high blood pressure versus 43 percent of Black men.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers up these tips to prevent strokes and hypertension:

—    Eat a healthy diet. Eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high blood cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.

—    Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of stroke.

—    Be active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

—    Don't smoke.  Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk of stroke.

—    Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which causes high blood pressure.


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(Photo: Reuters /SHANNON STAPLETON /LANDOV)

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