There is an enemy lurking in the homes of blacks. It passes down from generation to generation. It puts people on medication, in hospitals and into graves. This illness is hypertension, known to most people as high blood pressure.
Hypertension is a leading cause of death in the black community. Statistics show blacks have an 80 percent higher death rate associated with strokes and a 50 percent higher death rate associated with heart disease due to hypertension.
According to the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, an adult with a blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm of mercury systolic and greater than or equal to 90 mm of mercury diastolic, is considered to have high blood pressure.
Research on the Black Women’s Health Web site, www.blackwomenshealth.org, reveal that compared to Caucasians, black men and women develop hypertension at an earlier age and are more prone to have substantially elevated pressures.
Unfortunately, there is at least one person with high blood pressure in every black family.
Vladimir Christopher, a sophomore business administration student said two of his family members have hypertension.
“My mother and my grandfather have high blood pressure,” he said.
Although it is more common among people who are 35 years or older, hypertension can occur in children and young adults. Christopher said he is not worried about being one of those young adults.
“There is a good chance that I will get it, but I’m not worried because I don’t eat a lot of salty stuff,” said the 19-year-old Miami native.
Some believe consuming a lot of soul food leads to high blood pressure.
“I really think blacks should stop eating all this fatty, greasy and salty food,” said Anishia Walcott, 20, a sophomore, nursing student from Fort Pierce. “Then we would not have to worry about high blood pressure.”
Many people living with hypertension feel healthy and are unaware that they have it. The disease is often referred to as a “silent killer.” In some cases, a person’s blood pressure elevates for years before it is treated.
If left untreated, it can lead to other critical illnesses including kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes.
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