Understanding and Tackling Hypertension in African American Communities
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is more prevalent in African American communities than in other racial groups in the United States. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report indicated that about 5 in 10 non-Hispanic Black adults are hypertensive. When a person's blood pressure is consistently above 130/80 mm Hg, they are said to have hypertension. So why is this condition ailing more people in Black and African American communities than any other in the United States?
Causes of Hypertension in African American Communities
In the United States, hypertension disproportionately affects Black and African American people than any other racial group. African Americans are more likely to develop hypertension earlier in life than whites. To date, researchers have not identified a single cause of hypertension in any racial group, including Black and African American people. However, several factors trigger hypertension among Black people. Below, we highlight some of those.
Inequalities in Healthcare
The U.S healthcare system has over the years been characterized by discrimination against minority ethnic/racial groups, including the Black and African American people. These inequalities mainly stem from racism, which also affects other aspects of their lives.
The visible pattern of racism in healthcare against Black and African American people means that they do not access quality services to help them detect and manage conditions like hypertension. Inequality in healthcare, which is evident in the number of active Black physicians, also results in poor physician-patient relationships.
Possibly, physicians do not listen to the concerns of Black and African American patients and probably do not recommend the appropriate treatment. Access to quality healthcare for Black and African American patients could help curb hypertension and prevent the advancement of the “silent killer” in African American communities.
Socio-environmental and Lifestyle Factors
Many precursors of hypertension are avertible through lifestyle management. Yet, Black and African American people are less likely to engage in hypertension-prevention behaviors, such as dietary modifications and increased physical activity. There is little to no scientific evidence to link hypertension to the genetic make-up of African American people. Yet, the various socio-economic factors show why this condition is more prevalent in African American communities than in any other.
There is satisfactory empirical evidence to show the various lifestyle risk factors of developing hypertension among Black and African American people. These include weight issues, reduced physical activity, increased alcohol and tobacco intake, and increased intake of highly-processed foods. What’s even more worrying is that African Americans are showing little promise in achieving lifestyle adjustments.
Excessive weight and obesity among racial groups in the United States are highest for Black people of both genders. A more damning fact is that 43% of Black women and 26% of Black men in the United States are physically inactive. There’s also a connection between cardiovascular deaths and increased alcohol consumption, yet binge drinking continues to be the norm in about 14.5% of African Americans.
Smoking also causes a significant rise in blood pressure and contributes to the increased heart-related health issues among African Americans. A 2004 report by CDC showed that 22% of African Americans continue to smoke, which is a genuine concern if we're to win the battle against hypertension.
Poor Dietary Habits
Habitual consumption of highly-processed foods in African American communities is one of the reasons for obesity and increased cardiovascular mortality. Most of these health issues became more prevalent when Black and African American people abandoned their indigenous diet, which consisted mainly of fruits and vegetables.
Newly adopted diets mean that African Americans now ingest more dietary sodium and saturated fats, which are postulated as key factors in hypertension. By eating less fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables, African Americans miss out on potassium, which promotes heart health and keeps high blood pressure at bay.
Tackling Hypertension among Blacks and African Americans
Finding ways to tackle hypertension requires that we first understand its causes and risk factors. Below, we look at some self-care behaviors and general strategies to help control hypertension.
Recognize and Adjust Lifestyle and Dietary Habits
The risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart disease and hypertension is nearly twice as high for African Americans than their white counterparts. Yet, multiple studies have shown that lifestyle habits such as poor nutrition and lack of adequate physical activity are the main cause of these health issues.
By acknowledging the risk Black patients face, physicians should encourage them to change their lifestyle by meeting the required physical activity levels and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables daily. By ditching fried foods, organ and processed meats, added fats, and sweetened beverages, African Americans could close the racial gap in hypertension.
Put More Emphasis on Outreach Programs
Government agencies and non-profit organizations are increasingly educating people on the importance of regular screening and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Bill Releford, the founder and CEO of The Releford Foot and Ankle Institute, acknowledged the role played by barbershops and beauty parlors in Black and African American communities. He founded The Black Barbershop – a health outreach program meant to educate African American men on various health-related issues.
By partnering with barbershops in African American communities, physicians can better reach Black men, who are underrepresented in intervention trials. More African Americans are getting screened for diabetes and hypertension through initiatives such as the Black Barbershop, which is a significant step in promoting amputation prevention.
Leveraging Technology in Amputation Prevention
The Wound Docs is a nationwide network of physicians such as podiatrists, wound care specialists, and vascular surgeons. By bringing together these professionals and leveraging the power of AI and advanced biologics (skin substitutes), The Wound Docs is leading the battle against lower-limb amputations through better wound healing among African American patients.
Exercise Routines for Health and Fitness: Moderate and High-intensity Workouts
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Foam Dressings: Benefits And Applications
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Hydrogel Wound Dressings: Benefits And Applications
Hydrogel wound dressings belong to the class of modern wound dressings that actively stimulate the wound healing process. They are composed of synthetic polymers with a high water content formed in the shape of sheets, amorphous gels, and foams.
Alginate Wound Dressings: Benefits And Applications
In the United States, approximately 6 million people are affected by chronic wounds. The number is only expected to increase with the rise in the elderly population. Wound dressings form an essential component of wound care.
How Obesity and Overweight Affects Wound Healing
Obesity and excessive weight are conditions that continue to disproportionately affect Black and African American people in the United States.
Understanding and Tackling Hypertension in African American Communities
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is more prevalent in African American communities than in other racial groups in the United States. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report indicated that about 5 in 10 non-Hispanic Black adults are hypertensive.
Understanding the Risk Factors for Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers, also called bedsores or decubitus ulcers, are areas of localized damage to the skin and underlying tissue. They result from unrelieved pressure on the skin, friction, shear, or a combination of these.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Amputation Prevention
With the various technological advancements, amputation prevention through proper wound care is an attractive area for Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2002, the whole world was in awe when Google brain, an Artificial Intelligence research team, could find a cat in a YouTube video.
The Role of Advanced Biologics (Skin Substitutes) in Wound Healing
For a long time now, limb amputation has affected the mobility of African Americans living with chronic diseases. Worse still, studies have shown that limb amputation among diabetes
Know Better, Do Better: Adopting Healthy Lifestyles for Amputation Prevention
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Tackling the Education Gap: Encouraging Medical Careers Among Black Students
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The Amputation Epidemic in Black America: What Everyone Needs to Know
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Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and Its Impact On Wound Care
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Promoting Physical Exercise and Mobility in African American Communities
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A Spotlight on Healthcare Disparities in African American Communities
Even with promising interventions such as the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare equality in the U.S. seems like a distant goal. African Americans are still more likely to be burdened with chronic diseases
Avenues for Promoting Health Awareness in African Communities
Disparities in healthcare remain a serious problem in African American communities. The history of slavery and other social determinants like systemic racism and access to healthy foods undoubtedly underlie the inexcusably poor state of African American health.
The State of Black Health in America
Over 150 years from the abolishment of slavery, healthcare in America is stilled marred by systemic racial discrimination and inequality. According to the CDC, 20.2 percent of black American adults are living in fair or poor health. This is a visibly higher population compared to white, non-Hispanic (14.1 percent).
Black Nutrition: Are You Eating The Right Diet?
Blacks have dietary preferences born from cultural influence. A study conducted on 7,000 men and women over 45 years living across the U.S. found that Black participants were more likely to eat a diet comprising highly processed foods compared to their White counterparts. Further, 46% of Blacks and 33% of Whites developed hypertension, with diet being the reason for much of the disparity.
Debridement: A Critical Component of Wound Treatment
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What is Negative Pressure Wound Therapy and How Does it Benefit Patients?
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The Benefits of Telemedicine To Wound Care
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Why are Some Wounds Slow To Heal?
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What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Wound Therapy and How Does it Benefit Patients?
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Diagnosis and Management of Pressure Ulcers
Leading research estimates a prevalence of up to 27% of pressure ulcers in patients living at long-term care facilities. Elderly patients (above 70 years of age), obese patients, patients with limited mobility, and those with underlying medical conditions e.g., peripheral arterial disease, and multiple sclerosis are the most at risk of developing pressure ulcers.
Compression Therapy for Wound Management
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Democratizing Wound Care in Hospice Care Facilities
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Dealing With Diabetic Foot Ulcers During The Pandemic
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What Clinicians Need To Know About Wound Care Dressings
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