Higher Blood Pressure Kills 8,000 Black Americans a Year

Extent of deadly racial disparity surprises researchers
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2008 5:00 AM CST
A new study says thousands of African-American lives could be saved each year if their high blood pressure were better controlled.   (Feature Photo Service)
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(Newser) – Some 8,000 lives a year are being lost because blacks suffer from higher blood pressure than the white population, surprising new research has discovered. "We expected it to be big, but it was even larger than we anticipated," said a researcher of the racial disparity. Some 40% of blacks have high blood pressure while 30% of whites suffer from the problem. The reason for the difference isn't clear, though researchers believe poverty may play a role.

In a highly controversial position, some researchers charge that patients may be failing to take blood-pressure medications. "'Compliance' to me is a hateful word," said one doctor. "It says, 'I'm the great doctor and inform you what needs to be done and you don't do it because you're stupid, you're incompetent.' I don't accept that."