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More than 40 percent of African Americans suffer from high blood pressure (known as hypertension) and many more are simply unaware that anything is wrong. If you are African American, there is a good chance you have family members or friends with this disease. Known as the silent killer, high blood pressure exerts its damage on the small vessels of the kidneys, eyes, heart and even brain in the from of stroke.
According to a new study, Blacks have a higher rate of preventative hospitalization for high blood pressure than Whites. Put differently, primary care and public health initiatives have failed to prevent and treat the condition in comparative ways to Whites, thus, Blacks seek their care at the hospital and often after the condition is uncontrolled. This should be no surprise given the history of American healthcare as a two-tier loosely structured institution.
Most white-controlled institutions in the U.S. have had a long history of discrimination such as in education, housing and other sections of life including healthcare. Therefore, it is incumbent on black Americans to take ownership of the disease. Start by establishing a primary care provider, educate yourself on the disease of hypertension and it’s risks to your vital organs, learn what the normal ranges of blood pressure are and ask about your blood pressure and how to control it if it’s high with each and every visit to your primary care provider.
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