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Article title: HYPERTENSION AND AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN: NWHIC
What is the
prevalence of hypertension in African American women?
How does hypertension in African American women differ from hypertension in other women?
What are the most effective treatments for hypertension in African American women?
African American women have higher rates of hypertension than white women and Hispanic women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.2% of the Black, non-Hispanic female population between 1998 and 1994 had hypertension 22.0% of Hispanic women and 19.3% of White, non-Hispanic women had hypertension during this time.
Typically, African American women have higher blood pressure measurements compared to white women. The risk of having severe hypertension is greater in African American women compared to white women. Finally, African American women are at increased risk of having kidney, heart, and stroke complications from high blood pressure.
Treatment of hypertension in African American women is essentially the same as it is for other people. Important lifestyle changes include increasing exercise, losing weight if overweight or obese, moderating alcohol intake, and eating a low-salt diet. Other dietary changes should include increasing potassium and restricting fat and cholesterol. Oral contraceptive use can occasionally contribute to higher blood pressure in women, and it may be necessary to use alternative methods of birth control. Hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women seems to have little effect on blood pressure.
Often, more than one medication is required to control blood pressure, one of which may be a diuretic (water pill). Some over-the-counter medications may worsen blood pressure or interfere with prescription medications. You should inform your doctor if you are regularly taking any over-the-counter medications.
Ideally, you should have your own blood pressure cuff and measure your blood pressure at home. Keep a record of these measurements and take them to all your appointments with your physician. A good blood pressure is less than 135/85.
You can find out more about hypertension by contacting the following organizations:
Contributions to this FAQ on Hypertension and African American Women: The Ohio State University Medical Center's, a National Center of Excellence in Women's Health sponsored by the Office on Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
All material contained in the FAQs is free of copyright restrictions, and may be copied, reproduced, or duplicated without permission of the Office on Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services; citation of the source is appreciated.
Publication date: 1998
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